Trophic factors as potential therapies for treatment of major mental disorders

Eliyahu Dremencov*, Daniela Jezova, Segev Barak, Jana Gaburjakova, Marta Gaburjakova, Viera Kutna, Saak V. Ovsepian

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Notwithstanding major advances in psychotherapeutics, their efficacy and specificity remain limited. The slow onset of beneficial outcomes and numerous adverse effects of widely used medications remain of chief concern, warranting in-depth studies. The majority of frontline therapies are thought to enhance the endogenous monoaminergic drive, to initiate a cascade of molecular events leading to lasting functional and structural plasticity. They also involve alterations in trophic factor signalling, including brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), VGF (non-acronymic), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2), glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), and others. In several major mental disorders, emerging data suggest protective and restorative effects of trophic factors in preclinical models, when applied on their own. Antidepressant outcomes of VGF and FGF2, for instance, were shown in experimental animals, while BDNF and GDNF prove useful in the treatment of addiction, schizophrenia, and autism spectrum disorders. The main challenge with the effective translation of these and other findings in the clinic is the knowledge gap in action mechanisms with potential risks, as well as the lack of effective platforms for validation under clinical settings. Herein, we review the state-of-the-art and advances in the therapeutic use of trophic factors in several major neuropsychiatric disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Article number136194
JournalNeuroscience Letters
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2021


  • Antidepressants
  • Antipsychotics
  • Growth factor
  • Neuropsychiatry
  • Polyplex nanoparticles
  • Targeted delivery


Dive into the research topics of 'Trophic factors as potential therapies for treatment of major mental disorders'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this