Scientists focus light on a key molecular family with regulatory roles in neurocognitive functions

Posted by Ashu Kumar
March 28, 2017

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Date: 27. 03. 2017

Source: Department of Anatomy, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), Karaikal, Pondicherry, India  (

Summary: An analytical review published in a prestigious peer reviewed journal, “Reviews in Neurosciences” unravels regulatory role of an exclusive family of molecules, Nerve Growth Factors (NGFs), in comprehensive neurocognitive functions and etiogenesis of neuropsychiatric disorders, and raises hopes for preventive, rehabilitative, and therapeutic use of these molecules in such disorders.



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Researchers from premier Indian medical and neuroscience research institutes as AIIMS-Delhi, NBRC-Manesar and JIPMER led by Dr. Ashutosh Kumar, Assistant Professor, Department of Anatomy, JIPMER-Karaikal have recently published a research which unravels regulatory role of an exclusive family of molecules in brain functions and cognition.  The research report titled “Regulatory role of NGFs in neurocognitive functions” which is an exhaustive review of established research on individual members of the nerve growth factor super-family (NGFs) has been published in a prestigious peer reviewed international journal, “Reviews in Neurosciences”.

NGFs, or simply called neurotrophins are omnipresent molecules in the brain (as has been brought to focus by this research) and are secreted by neurons induced with mental activity and have been highly involved during brain development. The prototype member of this super family ‘NGF’ is the legendary molecule reported by famous Italian lady scientist Professor Rita Levi Montalcini in 1950s which had changed the course of brain research, and for which she was awarded with Nobel prize in Physiology/Medicine, 1986, following which many other neurotrophins were discovered and their receptors and mechanisms of action identified.

Dr. Ashutosh stated that the elaborative research done on NGFs is the joint effort by the team researchers, scientists from different science backgrounds and discloses a unified role of NGFs in normal neural functions as well as in common etiogenesis of neuro-psychiatric disorders which were quite not clear from isolated studies.

Vikas Pareek, a junior scientist at Computational Neuroscience and Neuroimaging Department, National Brain Research Center, Manesar, India  and a registered pharmacist, said that the research article has been focussed on exploring NGFs role in comprehensive regulation of neurocognitive functions, maintenance of normal psychology and pathogenesis of neurocognitive or psychiatric disorders.

Dr. Pavan Kumar, Dr. Khursheed Raza (Department of Anatomy, AIIMS, Delhi) and Dr. Muneeb Faiq (Department of Opthalmology, AIIMS, Delhi) added their views on current research stating  that the NGFs are well known for their diverse array of functions in nervous system but first time a panoramic view of these brought forth by us has to surprise neuroscientists for NGFs’ prodigious unified actions which were dispersed in literature and hence hidden from the view.  Our integrative research may further induce extensive research on therapeutic applications of these molecules in prevention, rehabilitation and treatment of neurocognitive or psychiatric disorders which are propagating epidemically and have become a major health burden worldwide.

Dr. Pranav Prasoon, Sankat Mochan (Department of Anatomy, AIIMS, Delhi) and Dr. Subramanyam Dantham (an ex-junior scientist at Department of Biochemistry, AIIMS, Delhi, and currently a Indian Council of Medical Research scientist) stated that NGFs are the only candidates with whom pieces of evidence stand firm favoring their mechanistic role in etiogenesis and progression of almost all spectrum of neurocognitive or psychiatric disorders. We researchers are foresighted that in near future novel therapeutic options will be developed to target NGFs signaling cascade halting course of progression of such mental disorders or may be being used as a preventive measure.

More information: Kumar, A., Pareek, V., Faiq, M., et al. (2017). Regulatory role of NGFs in neurocognitive functions. Reviews in the Neurosciences, 0(0), pp. -.doi:10.1515/revneuro-2016-0031.  Ahead of print published Online: 2017-03-27

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