Peripheral neuropathies: treatment with neurotrophic factors

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By K K Jain MD

Neurotrophic factors are under investigation for the treatment of peripheral neuropathies. This clinical article reviews the development of neurotrophic factors for diabetic neuropathy, antineoplastic agents-induced neuropathy, and inflammatory neuropathies. Although there is a good rationale for the use of neurotrophic factors in peripheral neuropathies, many clinical trials have failed to show significant improvement. Administration of neurotrophic factors by gene therapy has shown more favorable results in animal models, and clinical trials using this method are expected to show improved results.

Key points

  • Neurotrophic factors play an important role in the survival and maintenance of neurons.
  • There is considerable experimental data on various neurotrophic factors in relation to peripheral neuropathies, which forms the basis of therapeutic interventions.
  • There is some evidence of efficacy of neurotrophic factors in diabetic neuropathy in clinical trials and in anticancer agent-induced peripheral neuropathy.