Nerve growth factor: The central hub in the development of allergic asthma?
Neurotrophins like nerve growth factor (NGF), originally described as nerve growth factors in neuronal development, have been implicated in many physiological processes in the last years. They are now regarded as important factors involved in the resolution of pathological conditions. NGF has profound effects on inflammation, repair and remodeling of tissues. However, in the lung these beneficial effects can transact into disease promoting actions, e.g., in allergic inflammation or respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection. Overproduction of NGF then enhances inflammation, and promotes (neuronal) airway hyperreactivity and neurogenic inflammation. We hypothesize that NGF overexpression in certain vulnerable time windows during infancy could be a major risk factor for the development of asthma symptoms.
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