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Important Regulator of the Nervous System - Neurotrophin Function

Neurotrophins are a family of proteins that have received a lot of attention due to their key role in neuronal survival, development and function. Gaining valuable insights into their intriguing functions is necessary as it may refine our understanding of the nervous system and lead to more effective therapeutic strategies. Here, we will delve into the multifaceted functions of neurotrophins.

What are Neurotrophins?

Neurotrophins are a type of neural growth factor and consist of several members. There are four main types of them: Nerve Growth Factor (NGF), Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), Neurotrophin-3 (NT-3), and Neurotrophin-4/5 (NT-4/5), each of which has a unique function and distribution in the mammalian nervous system. These proteins play unique roles in the coordination of neural processes affecting the peripheral and central nervous systems.

We understand the critical role that neurotrophins play in neuroscience research and offer a variety of related services, including:

Our Services Descriptions
Neurotrophic Factors Therapies Study The application of neurotrophic factors to affected areas of PD has emerged as a promising strategy. We specialize in providing customized services to our global clients based on your specific needs, such as in vitro studies identifying neurotrophic factor candidates that are effective in diseased neurons.
Neuronal Cells Directed Differentiation Technology Creative Biolabs can provide customers with efficient technical services for the directed differentiation of stem cells into neural cells. Our professional team has expertise and experience in induction and differentiation. Relying on our mature technology platform, we carry out personalized targeted differentiation studies of neural cells for you, including the expression of neurotrophic factors.

In order for neurotrophins to function, they interact with specific receptors on the surface of target cells. The tropomyosin receptor kinase (Trk) family and the p75 neurotrophin receptor are the main receptors involved in mediating neurotrophin signaling. Understanding the complex signaling pathways activated by neurotrophins can provide insight into their different functions.

Proneurotrophins interact preferentially with p75 NTR and mature neurotrophins preferentially activate Trk receptors. (Bothwell, Mark, 2016)Fig. 1 Proneurotrophins interact preferentially with p75 NTR and mature neurotrophins preferentially activate Trk receptors.1

Below is a list of antibody products that you may be able to use in your neurotrophin research. Learn more and inquire online.

Cat. No Product Name Clonality Applications
NAB-0720-Z288 NeuroMab™ Mouse Anti-p75 NGF Monoclonal Antibody (CBP109) Monoclonal FC
NAB-0720-Z345 NeuroMab™ Rabbit Anti-p75 NGF Monoclonal Antibody (CBP138) Monoclonal ICC; IF

Role in Neuron Survival and Growth

Throughout the developmental stages of the nervous system, neurotrophins play an integral role in neuronal survival, growth and neuronal differentiation. They promote the survival of developing neurons, guide axon growth, and facilitate the formation of synapses - key connections between neurons.

  • NGF plays an important role in the development and survival of sensory neurons.
  • BDNF plays a crucial role in the growth and maintenance of neurons in the brain.
  • NGF significantly influences neurite outgrowth, the process by which nerve cells elaborate axons and dendrites, thus affecting the formation of neuronal networks.

We offer ELISA Kits for neurotrophin assays that can be used to quantify target proteins in cell culture extracts, cit plasma, EDTA plasma, hep plasma, serum and tissue extracts.

Cat. No Product Name Research Areas Applications
NPP2011ZP328 Mouse Neurotrophin-3 ELISA Kit [Colorimetric] Growth and Development ELISA
NPP2011ZP331 Rat Neurotrophin-3 ELISA Kit [Colorimetric] Growth and Development ELISA
NPP2011ZP320 Human Neurotrophin 3 ELISA Kit [Colorimetric] Growth and Development ELISA
NPP2011ZP323 Human NGF R ELISA Kit (CD271) [Colorimetric] Growth and Development ELISA
NPP2011ZP311 Mouse NGF R ELISA Kit (CD271) [Colorimetric] Growth and Development ELISA

The absence of neurotrophins may lead to neuronal apoptosis or programmed cell death, hence their importance in neural health. Of particular note is NGF, which is a promising direction for Alzheimer's disease research because of its unique survival-supportive function for cholinergic neurons, the loss of which is a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease.

Neurotrophins and Synaptic Plasticity

Synaptic plasticity is a fundamental property of the nervous system that underlies learning and memory. Neurotrophins enhance synaptic plasticity by modulating the strength and efficacy of synaptic connections. BDNF, in particular, plays a key role.

  • It is associated with long time-range potentiation (LTP) - a cellular mechanism thought to underlie learning and memory.
  • The study also highlights the role of BDNF in mood regulation and depression, thus suggesting potential therapeutic avenues.

Role in Sensory and Skeletal System Development and Pain Modulation

Human NT-3 is crucial for the survival and development of proprioceptive sensory neurons that relay information about body position and movement to the brain. This signals its potential role in conditions related to motor coordination and balance. Synergizing with the rest of its clan, NT-3 also promotes skeletal development.

Neurotrophins are intrinsically linked to pain modulation. They sensitize pain receptors (nociceptors), increasing their response to harmful stimuli. Consequently, they likely play a crucial role in chronic pain conditions. Seizing this understanding can unlock innovative approaches to pain management.

Neurotrophins and Neurological Disorders

A growing body of evidence suggests that neurotrophins exert a significant influence on neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders. Alterations in both neurotrophin and cognate receptor expression levels have been identified in various diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, schizophrenia, depression, epilepsy and autism, underscoring the potential of these proteins as diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers.

Neurotrophic factors and age-related disorders: implication of each different neurotrophic factor with neurological disorders.(Alfonsetti, et al., 2023)Fig. 2 Neurotrophic factors and age-related disorders: implication of each different neurotrophic factor with neurological disorders.2

  • A conspicuous decline in mature BDNF, exacerbated by the promotion of its precursor (proBDNF), accompanies Alzheimer's disease progression, leading to structural and functional alterations in neuronal networks key for cognitive function.
  • The neuroprotective action of BDNF administration in animal models of Parkinson's disease provides essential preclinical evidence of its potential as a therapeutic molecule.
  • Research exploring BDNF's intricate role in synaptogenesis, plasticity, and neuronal survival in schizophrenia has demonstrated that enhanced BDNF signaling may ameliorate symptomatology and enhance cognitive functions.
  • BDNF's antidepressant effects have been well-documented in preclinical models. Some antidepressant treatments promote BDNF expression, fostering the hypothesis that neurotrophins represent a primary target in the treatment of mood disorders.

Overall, the impact of neurotrophins extends beyond neuronal survival and development, affecting synaptic plasticity, nerve regeneration, sensation, pain modulation, and cognitive function. Their groundbreaking role in neurological disorders demonstrates their therapeutic promise.

At Creative Biolabs, we are committed to exploring the vast potential and challenges of neurotrophins and being at the forefront of scientific discovery. As we gain a deeper understanding of neurotrophin function, we look forward to discovering new therapeutic tools to combat neurological disorders and improve neuronal health.


  1. Bothwell, Mark. "Recent advances in understanding neurotrophin signaling." F1000Research 5 (2016).
  2. Alfonsetti, et al. "Neurotrophic factor-based pharmacological approaches in neurological disorders." Neural Regeneration Research 18.6 (2023): 1220.
For Research Use Only. Not For Clinical Use.
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