Neurotrophic factors for the investigation and treatment of movement disorders
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- Garcia De Yébenes, J., Sánchez, M. & Mena, M.A. neurotox res (2003) 5: 119. doi:10.1007/BF03033377
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Neurotrophic factors (NFs) are proteins that enhance neuronal survival, differentiation, neurotransmitter function and resistance to neurotoxins and lesions. For these reasons the NFs are considered as a new potential therapeutic tool for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders, a group of diseases that produce the most important cause for disability in the Western world. Some NFs prevent or even reverse the behavioral, biochemical, pharmacological and histological abnormalities observed in severalin vitro andin vivo models of neurodegenerative disorders, namely Parkinson's disease. Several NFs have been investigated in primate models of neurological disorders and some of them have been used for patients with these diseases. The results so far obtained in humans have been disappointing for several reasons, including technical problems for delivery, unbearable side effects or lack of efficacy.
Future approaches for the use of NFs in humans should include the following: (1) Investigation of the putative compounds in animal models more related to the pathophysiology of each disease, such as in genetic models of neurodegenerative diseases; (2) New methods of delivery including genetic engineering by viral vectors and administration through implantable devices; (3) More precise methods of continuous response evaluation, including the novel neuroimaging techniques; (4) Investigation of the effects of behavioral stimulation and conventional pharmacotherapy on the metabolism of NFs.