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According to the neurotrophic hypothesis of major depressive disorder (MDD), impairment in growth factor signaling might be associated with the pathology of this illness. Current evidence demonstrates that impaired neuroplasticity induced by alterations of neurotrophic growth factors and related signaling pathways may be underlying to the pathophysiology of MDD. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is the most studied neurotrophic factor involved in the neurobiology of MDD. Nevertheless, developing evidence has implicated other neurotrophic factors, including neurotrophin-3 (NT-3), neurotrophin-4 (NT-4), nerve growth factor (NGF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), insulin-like growth factor (IGF), glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), and fibroblast growth factor (FGF) in the MDD pathophysiology. Here, we summarize the current literature on the involvement of neurotrophic factors and related signaling pathways in the pathophysiology of MDD.


Meysam Amidfar, Gislaine Zilli Réus, Airam Barbosa de Moura, João Quevedo, Yong-Ku Kim. The Role of Neurotrophic Factors in Pathophysiology of Major Depressive Disorder. Advances in experimental medicine and biology. 2021;1305:257-272

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PMID: 33834404

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