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Introduction: Neurotrophin-3 (NT-3) is thought to play a role in the neurobiological processes implicated in mood and anxiety disorders. NT-3 is a potential pharmacological target for mood disorders because of its effects on monoamine neurotransmitters, regulation of synaptic plasticity and neurogenesis, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) signaling boosting, and modulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. The mechanisms underlying NT-3 anxiolytic properties are less clear and require further exploration and definition. Areas covered: The evidence that supports NT-3 as a pharmacological target for anxiety and mood disorders is presented and this is followed by a reflection on the quandaries, stumbling blocks, and future perspectives for this novel target. Expert opinion: There is evidence for miRNAs being key post-transcriptional regulators of neurotrophin-3 receptor gene (NTRK3) in anxiety disorders; however, the anxiolytic properties of NT-3 need further examination and delineation. Moreover, NT-3 expression by non-neuronal cells and its role in brain circuits that participate in anxiety and mood disorders require further scrutiny. Further work is vital before progression into clinical trials can be realized.


A S de Miranda, J L V M de Barros, Antonio Lucio Teixeira. Is neurotrophin-3 (NT-3): a potential therapeutic target for depression and anxiety? Expert opinion on therapeutic targets. 2020 Dec;24(12):1225-1238

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PMID: 33141605

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