Transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) proteins are multifunctional cytokines whose neural functions are increasingly recognized. The machinery of TGF-β signaling, including the serine kinase type transmembrane receptors, is present in the central nervous system. However, the 3 mammalian TGF-β subtypes have distinct distributions in the brain suggesting different neural functions. Evidence of their involvement in the development and plasticity of the nervous system as well as their functions in peripheral organs suggested that they also exhibit neuroprotective functions. Indeed, TGF-β expression is induced following a variety of types of brain tissue injury. The neuroprotective function of TGF-βs is most established following brain ischemia. Damage in experimental animal models of global and focal ischemia was shown to be attenuated by TGF-βs. In addition, support for their neuroprotective actions following trauma, sclerosis multiplex, neurodegenerative diseases, infections, and brain tumors is also accumulating. The review will also describe the potential mechanisms of neuroprotection exerted by TGF-βs including anti-inflammatory, -apoptotic, -excitotoxic actions as well as the promotion of scar formation, angiogenesis, and neuroregeneration. The participation of these mechanisms in the neuroprotective effects of TGF-βs during different brain lesions will also be discussed.
- Brain injury
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Computer Science Applications
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry