The ability of neurotrophic factors to regulate developmental neuronal survival and adult nervous system planticity suggests the use of these molecuales to treat neurodegeneration associated with human diseases. Solid rationales exist for the use of NGF and neurotrophin-3 in the treatment of neuropathies of the peripheral sensory system, insulin-like growth factor and ciliary neurotrophic factor in motor neuron atrophy, and NGF in Alzheimer's disease. Growth factors have been identified for neurons affected in Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, and acute brain and spinal cord injury. Various strategies are actively pursued to deliver neurotrophic factors to the brain, and develop therapeutically useful molecules that mimic neurotrophic factor actions or stimulate their production or receptor mechanisms. 1994 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.