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Biomedical Reviews

Neurotrophic factors in the testis

Dieter Mutter, Ralf Middendorff, Michail S. Davidoff


Neurotrophic factors, interacting with neurons to affect their growth, are a subset of the polypeptide growth factors. There is increasing evidence for a broader physiological role of these factors which includes effects on a variety of nonneuronal tissues. Among the cell systems, where neurotrophic factors have been hypothesized to exert local nonneurotrophic activities, the testis is of particular interest. This organ represents a complex biological unit which requires the concerted action of very diverse cell types interacting with each other in order to ensure correct spermatogenesis. As signaling molecules that may be involved in these intercellular communication events, various neurotrophic factors have attained considerable scientific attention. This article intends to summarize the presently available data on the distribution and possible local activities of neurotrophic factors and their receptors in testicular cells and provides further information on local expression sites of some of these factors in the human testis.

Biomedical Reviews 1999; 10: 25-30.

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About The Authors

Dieter Mutter
University of Hamburg

Ralf Middendorff
University of Hamburg

Michail S. Davidoff
University of Hamburg

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