Affiliation: Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Tubingen, Calwer Street 14, D-72076 Tubingen, Germany.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the leading cause of dementia in the elderly. Growth factors have been demonstrated to act in a synergistic way in angiogenesis and neurogenesis contributing to self-healing powers of the adult human brain. A growing body of evidence demonstrates that levels of many growth factors (neurotrophins and hematopoietins) are altered in cerebrospinal fluid and peripheral blood from AD patients and in animal models of AD. The present review summarizes the role of several neurotrophic growth factors (e.g., BDNF, SCF, NGF, GDNF) and haematopoietic growth factors (e.g., G-CSF, VEGF, SDF-1) in AD. Moreover, we summarize recent studies evaluating the diagnostic and prognostic value of growth factor levels in blood and cerebrospinal fluid in patients with AD and discuss the potential role of these growth factors as a promising new therapeutic approach in AD.