Peptide Growth Factors and the Nervous System

  • M. E. Gurney
Part of the Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology book series (HEP, volume 95 / 2)


Many of the growth factors acting on somatic or hematopoietic tissues also are expressed within the brain. Their roles in the embryogenesis of neural tissue and in the maintenance of its integrity in the adult are just beginning to be appreciated. The lineages giving rise to the cell types comprising neural tissues, to neurons in all their variety, and to astrocytes and oligodendrocytes have been described in outline. Many of the factors influencing proliferation of progenitor cells and the choices made as they traverse neural lineages have been identified. Surprisingly, the factors acting on neural linages are not unique to the nervous system and include platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) and insulin-like growth factor type 1 (IGF-1). Progress at identifying growth factors acting on postmitotic neurons has been somewhat slower. Nerve growth factor (NGF) remains the only neuronal growth factor brought to a molecular level of analysis.


Nerve Growth Factor Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein Neural Crest Neural Crest Cell Crest Cell 
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  • M. E. Gurney

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