Abstract

Recent studies suggest that diffusible factors released by neural targets enhance the survival, growth, and differentiation of neurons both peripherally and in the central nervous system. Evidence for such trophic factors exists for many of the neural systems involved in the degenerative neurologic diseases Alzheimer's disease, parkinsonism, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. It is our hypothesis that for each of these disorders there is both a primary insult and a secondary effect. The primary insult may have multiple etiologies, but the secondary effect is the result of retrograde degeneration. Such retrograde degeneration occurs because of an impairment of trophic factor function or an inadequacy of trophic effects to keep pace with the primary destructive process. Accordingly, it may be possible to exploit such trophic mechanisms to define further the pathobiology of neural degeneration and to develop specific treatments for currently incurable illnesses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-201
Number of pages9
JournalAnnual Review of Medicine
Volume39
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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