Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Challenges and promises in the development of neurotrophic factor-based therapies for parkinson's disease

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Tiago OuteiroORCiD


Full text for this publication is not currently held within this repository. Alternative links are provided below where available.


Parkinson's disease (PD) is a chronic movement disorder typically coupled to progressive degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra (SN). The treatments currently available are satisfactory for symptomatic management, but the efficacy tends to decrease as neuronal loss progresses. Neurotrophic factors (NTFs) are endogenous proteins known to promote neuronal survival, even in degenerating states. Therefore, the use of these factors is regarded as a possible therapeutic approach, which would aim to prevent PD or to even restore homeostasis in neurodegenerative disorders. Intriguingly, although favorable results in in vitro and in vivo models of the disease were attained, clinical trials using these molecules have failed to demonstrate a clear therapeutic benefit. Therefore, the development of animal models that more closely reproduce the mechanisms known to underlie PD-related neurodegeneration would be a major step towards improving the capacity to predict the clinical usefulness of a given NTF-based approach in the experimental setting. Moreover, some adjustments to the design of clinical trials ought to be considered, which include recruiting patients in the initial stages of the disease, improving the efficacy of the delivery methods, and combining synergetic NTFs or adding NTF-boosting drugs to the already available pharmacological approaches. Despite the drawbacks on the road to the use of NTFs as pharmacological tools for PD, very relevant achievements have been reached. In this article, we review the current status of the potential relevance of NTFs for treating PD, taking into consideration experimental evidence, human observational studies, and data from clinical trials. © 2014 Springer International Publishing Switzerland.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Rodrigues TM, Jeronimo-Santos A, Outeiro TF, Sebastiao AM, Diogenes MJ

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Drugs and Aging

Year: 2014

Volume: 31

Issue: 4

Pages: 239-261

Online publication date: 09/03/2014

Acceptance date: 01/01/1900

ISSN (print): 1170-229X

ISSN (electronic): 1179-1969

Publisher: Adis International Ltd


DOI: 10.1007/s40266-014-0160-x

PubMed id: 24610720