IGF-I and Glycosaminoglycans Improve Peripheral Nerve Regeneration and Motor Neuron Survival in Models of Motor Neuron Disease

  • A. Gorio
  • L. Vergani
  • M. Losa
  • G. Pezzoni
  • L. Calvano
  • C. Finco
  • A. M. Di Giulio
  • A. Torsello
  • E. E. Müller


The discovery of agents capable of modulating neuronal survival and regeneration has been of interest to scientists since the early days of neuroscience. Recently, research into such agents has greatly increased due to their potential therapeutic use in neurodegenerative disorders [1]. Research related to nervous system regeneration following injury was strongly influenced by studies of Ramon Y Cajal [2] and Tello [3], and by the consolidation of the neuron theory. Tello wrote that lesioned nerves regenerate by forming sprouts which elongate, crossing the site of injury and regrowing into the distal stump up to the denervated muscle. He suggested that the processes of nerve regrowth and muscle reinnervation were promoted by some unknown substance liberated by the distal stump and/or by the denervated muscle. A tremendous advancement in this field came with the work of Levi Montalcini, Hamburgher and Cohen. Their contribution was dual: the description of neuronal death during embryonic development and the discovery of nerve growth factor [4–6]. It is now well known that at least for certain neuronal populations the process of cell death is regulated by the availability of a target-derived trophic factor. Nerve growth factor was the first of such trophic agents characterized [6]. Later it was found that the mammalian salivary gland, which corresponds to the snake venom gland, contained large amounts of nerve growth factor, and it became the most important source of the trophic factor [7]. With sufficient quantities of purified factor available, this field of research increased greatly.


Nerve Growth Factor Extensor Digitorum Longus Motor Neuron Disease Motor Neuron Survival Motoneuron Disease 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia, Milano 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Gorio
    • 1
  • L. Vergani
    • 1
  • M. Losa
    • 1
  • G. Pezzoni
    • 1
  • L. Calvano
    • 1
  • C. Finco
    • 1
  • A. M. Di Giulio
    • 1
  • A. Torsello
    • 1
  • E. E. Müller
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratories for Research on Pharmacology of Neurodegenerative Disorders and Neuroendocrinology, Department of Medical PharmacologyUniversity of MilanMilanItaly

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