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This article is part of the supplement: Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease Drug Discovery

Open Access Review

The potential of hematopoietic growth factors for treatment of Alzheimer's disease: a mini-review

Juan Sanchez-Ramos1*, Shijie Song1, Chuanhai Cao2 and Gary Arendash2

Author Affiliations

1 Dept of Neurology, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL 33612, USA

2 Byrd Institute for Alzheimer's Disease Research, Tampa, FL, 33612, USA

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BMC Neuroscience 2008, 9(Suppl 2):S3  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-9-S2-S3

Published: 3 December 2008


There are no effective interventions that significantly forestall or reverse neurodegeneration and cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease. In the past decade, the generation of new neurons has been recognized to continue throughout adult life in the brain's neurogenic zones. A major challenge has been to find ways to harness the potential of the brain's own neural stem cells to repair or replace injured and dying neurons. The administration of hematopoietic growth factors or cytokines has been shown to promote brain repair by a number of mechanisms, including increased neurogenesis, anti-apoptosis and increased mobilization of bone marrow-derived microglia into brain. In this light, cytokine treatments may provide a new therapeutic approach for many brain disorders, including neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's disease. In addition, neuronal hematopoietic growth factor receptors provide novel targets for the discovery of peptide-mimetic drugs that can forestall or reverse the pathological progression of Alzheimer's disease.