Background: Parkinson´s Disease (PD) is a chronic, progressive condition, being the second
most common neurodegenerative disorder worldwide. The classical features include: bradykinesia, resting
tremor, rigidity and festination. These neurological alterations are probably due to the death of dopaminergic
neurons in the Substantia Nigra pars compacta and consequent reduction of dopamine input into
the striatum. The decrease of dopamine levels may also be involved in the emergence of non-motor symptoms,
including cognitive impairment, anxiety and depression symptoms. Neurotrophic Factors (NF) are
proteins that modulate neuronal function, development, and survival. It has been reported that NF might
exert a protective role in PD.
Objective: We aim to discuss the emerging evidence from pre-clinical and clinical studies regarding the
role of NF in PD as well as their potential as promising therapeutic strategies.
Methods: We carried out an extensive literature search in PubMed central.
Results: Pre-clinical studies using NF to treat PD are divergent probably due to several methodological
differences, thus precluding any conclusion. Clinical studies findings obtained with the administration of
NF in patients with PD were even more disappointed. On the other hand, pre-clinical and clinical studies
generally support that physical activity is a low-cost, non-pharmacologic strategy with good results to treat
Conclusion: The use of NF as a treatment for PD is still a promise not incorporated in clinical practice.
Methods to deliver NFs, doses and compounds administered, side effects, population characteristics and
duration of disease may probably contribute to the unsuccessful results.