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Nerve growth factor: basic studies and possible therapeutic applications.

Growth Factors 2013 August
The nerve growth factor (NGF) belongs to a family of neurotrophic factors called neurotrophins. It was discovered as a molecule that stimulates the survival and maturation of developing neurons in the peripheral nervous system and has later been shown to protect adult neurons in the degenerating mammalian brain. Basic and clinical studies have been undertaken to use NGF as a therapeutic agent aimed at restoring and maintaining neuronal function in the central nervous system and to determine the mechanisms to safely deliver the molecule into the brain. Recent studies have also recognized that the role of NGF extends far beyond the horizon of nerve cells and even beyond the peripheral and central nervous system. Studies published from our laboratory have shown that topical application of NGF possesses a protective action on human pressure ulcer, corneal ulcer and glaucoma. Here, we will review these studies, supporting the therapeutic potential of NGF.

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