|Growth differentiation factor 5: a neurotrophic factor with neuroprotective potential in Parkinson's disease.|
Goulding SR, Anantha J, Collins LM, Sullivan AM, O'Keeffe GW.
Neural regeneration research. 2022; 17(1): 38-44
Parkinson's disease is the most common movement disorder worldwide, affecting over 6 million people. It is an age-related disease, occurring in 1% of people over the age of 60, and 3% of the population over 80 years. The disease is characterized by the progressive loss of midbrain dopaminergic neurons from the substantia nigra, and their axons, which innervate the striatum, resulting in the characteristic motor and non-motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease. This is paralleled by the intracellular accumulation of alpha-synuclein in several regions of the nervous system. Current therapies are solely symptomatic and do not stop or slow disease progression. One promising disease-modifying strategy to arrest the loss of dopaminergic neurons is the targeted delivery of neurotrophic factors to the substantia nigra or striatum, to protect the remaining dopaminergic neurons of the nigrostriatal pathway. However, clinical trials of two well-established neurotrophic factors, glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor and neurturin, have failed to meet their primary end-points. This failure is thought to be at least partly due to the downregulation by alpha-synuclein of Ret, the common co-receptor of glial cell line-derived neurorophic factor and neurturin. Growth/differentiation factor 5 is a member of the bone morphogenetic protein family of neurotrophic factors, that signals through the Ret-independent canonical Smad signaling pathway. Here, we review the evidence for the neurotrophic potential of growth/differentiation factor 5 in in vitro and in vivo models of Parkinson's disease. We discuss new work on growth/differentiation factor 5's mechanisms of action, as well as data showing that viral delivery of growth/differentiation factor 5 to the substantia nigra is neuroprotective in the alpha-synuclein rat model of Parkinson's disease. These data highlight the potential for growth/differentiation factor 5 as a disease-modifying therapy for Parkinson's disease.