Potential Nerve Growth Factor for Improving Cerebral Function After TBI

Janelle Forsgren, SN

Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) has been used experimentally to protect and possibly restore damaged brain cells due to traumatic brain injury (TBI). Doublecortin (DCX) is a marker produced when new neurons move to injured areas of the brain. Past studies have shown intraventricular NGF to be somewhat effective in animals. However, due to the blood-brain barrier, NGF is not able to penetrate the areas of injury as effectively when administered intraventricularly.

Recently, a four-year old boy was treated with intranasal NGF. This patient was in a persistent unresponsive wakefulness syndrome and was treated six months after his head injury. After 10 days of treatment, the young boy showed increased bodily functions and responsiveness. Assessment showed increased NGF and DCX in the boy’s cerebral spinal fluid (CSF). Although more research is needed, intranasal NGF therapy could show a promising new, safe treatment for traumatic brain injury.

Chiaretti, A., Conti, G., Falsini, B., Buonsenso, D., Crasti, M., . . . Riccardi, R. (2017). Intranasal nerve growth factor administration improves cerebral functions in a child with severe traumatic brain injury: A case report. Institute of Pediatrics, 31(11), 1538-1547. doi:10.1080/02699052.2017.1376760


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