The Neuronotrophic Hypothesis of the Aging Brain
Aging in the central nervous system (CNS) and age-related neuropathological conditions is known to be characterized by a deficit in specific neurotransmission systems, due to vulnerability of selective populations of neurons. Nevertheless, pharmacological strategies aimed at reducing or halting the progression of neurodegenerative disorders have led to minor therapeutic efficacy. As far as Alzheimer’s disease is concerned, cholinomimetic agents have not yet proven to be reliably effective (Rossor, 1982), and dopaminergic agonist administration for Parkinson’s disease has proven unable to prevent degeneration of the nigro-striatal projections (Hefti and Melamed, 1980). Lack of knowledge of both the etiology and pathogenetic mechanisms underlying neuronal degeneration, has hampered further development of therapies. However, the progress achieved in recent years in the field of basic and applied neuroscience has offered significant clues for exploring new therapeutic avenues.
KeywordsAmyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Nerve Growth Factor Tyrosine Hydroxylase Adult Central Nervous System Trophic Activity
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