The cause of motor neuron death in spinal muscular atrophy is still debated. In experimental animal models, neurotrophic factors have great potency in supporting motor neuron survival and differentiation, but there are no clinical studies on neurotrophin involvement in disease progression and motor neuron dysfunction. The aim of this study was to investigate the expression of three neurotrophic factors: nerve growth factor, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, and glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor in the cerebrospinal fluid of six infants with spinal muscular atrophy type I and six controls. The levels of neurotrophic factors were measured using an immunoenzymatic assay. A statistically significant increase in glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor levels was observed in patients with spinal muscular atrophy, compared with controls, whereas nerve growth factor and brain-derived neurotrophic factor did not show significant differences between groups. Glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor is one of the most powerful survival factors for spinal motor neurons. The increase of glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor may represent a response to the loss and damage of neuronal cells at the site of spinal lesion and is possibly related to axonal sprouting and synaptic reorganization of the damaged spinal motor neurons.
|Number of pages||5|
|Publication status||Published - 2009|