Functions of neurotrophins and growth factors in neurogenesis and brain repair



The identification and isolation of multipotent neural stem and progenitor cells in the brain, giving rise to neurons, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes initiated many studies in order to understand basic mechanisms of endogenous neurogenesis and repair mechanisms of the nervous system and to develop novel therapeutic strategies for cellular regeneration therapies in brain disease. A previous review (Trujillo et al., Cytometry A 2009;75:38–53) focused on the importance of extrinsic factors, especially neurotransmitters, for directing migration and neurogenesis in the developing and adult brain. Here, we extend our review discussing the effects of the principal growth and neurotrophic factors as well as their intracellular signal transduction on neurogenesis, fate determination and neuroprotective mechanisms. Many of these mechanisms have been elucidated by in vitro studies for which neural stem cells were isolated, grown as neurospheres, induced to neural differentiation under desired experimental conditions, and analyzed for embryonic, progenitor, and neural marker expression by flow and imaging cytometry techniques. The better understanding of neural stem cells proliferation and differentiation is crucial for any therapeutic intervention aiming at neural stem cell transplantation and recruitment of endogenous repair mechanisms. © 2012 International Society for Advancement of Cytometry