Neuroprotective role of nerve growth factor in hypoxic-ischemic brain injury

Claudia Fantacci, Domenico Capozzi, Pietro Ferrara, Antonio Chiaretti

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33 Citations (Scopus)


Hypoxic-ischemic brain injuries (HIBI) in childhood are frequently associated with poor clinical and neurological outcome. Unfortunately, there is currently no effective therapy to restore neuronal loss and to determine substantial clinical improvement. Several neurotrophins, such as Nerve Growth Factor (NGF), Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), and Glial Derived Neurotrophic Factor (GDNF), play a key role in the development, differentiation, and survival of the neurons of the peripheral and central nervous system. Experimental animal studies demonstrated their neuroprotective role in HIBI, while only a few studies examined the neuroprotective mechanisms in patients with severe HIBI. We report two cases of children with HIBI and prolonged comatose state who showed a significant improvement after intraventricular NGF administration characterized by amelioration of electroencephalogram (EEG) and cerebral perfusion at single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT). The improvement in motor and cognitive functions of these children could be related to the neuroprotective role exerted by NGF in residual viable cholinergic neurons, leading to the restoration of neuronal networks in the damaged brain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1013-1022
Number of pages10
JournalBrain Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • growth factor


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