Alzheimers disease (AD) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease characterized by the loss of large numbers of forebrain neurons. There are currently no effective AD treatments available and the cause of the disease is unknown in the majority of cases. Because normal neuronal maintenance and survival depends on stimulation of key signaling pathways by a number of neurotrophic factors it has been postulated that reduced signaling by or expression of these factors may promote neurodegeneration. Growing evidence suggests that the transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) signaling pathway may be one such neurotrophic pathway that meets important protective and survival roles in neurons. Here I explore this evidence and discuss the pathway as a potential target for the treatment of neurodegeneration and AD.
Keywords: Nerve growth factor, neurotrophic factor deficiency, latency associated peptide (LAP), CSF, synaptic degeneration
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