Peripheral Neuropathies: Will Growth Factors Be Effective as Therapies?

Stuart C. Apfel*, John A. Kessler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Neurotrophic factors are proteins that promote the survival and differentiation of specific neuronal popula tions. With the successful cloning and large-scale production of many different neurotrophic factors, it has become practical to consider their application in the treatment of neurological disease. Several categories of neurotrophic factors hold particular promise for the treatment of peripheral neuropathy in the near future. Preclinical studies have demonstrated the potential utility of factors like nerve growth factor for the treatment of small-fiber peripheral neuropathy and, possibly, compressive sensory neuropathies. Brain-derived neu rotrophic factor, ciliary neurotrophic factor, and insulin-like growth factor-I are likely to be applied in the treatment of motor neuropathy. Neurotrophin-3 has particular promise for the treatment of large-fiber sensory neuropathy. Although, for the most part, neurotrophic factors do not appear to have major toxicity, they represent a new class of drugs and clinical trials must proceed with caution. Clinical trials of several of these growth factors are currently underway, and others are being planned.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)176-182
Number of pages7
JournalThe Neuroscientist
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995


  • Nerve growth factors
  • Neuropathy
  • Neurotrophic
  • Penpheral nerve

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology

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