NGF (Nerve Growth Factor) is a neurotrophic factor that plays a major role in stimulating the growth of new neurons, improving the brain’s capacity to build new neural networks, supporting myelination in the brain (helps with passing on signals), survival and differentiation of neurons. In fact, NGF is critical for the survival and maintenance of sympathetic and sensory neurons, as they undergo apoptosis in its absence. Moreover, it has been proven to promote nerve cell recovery after ischemic, surgical or chemical injuries. NGF seems to play an especially crucial role in the survival of the neurons in the basal forebrain complex (BFC), whose functions include attention, motivation, memory and consciousness. In Alzheimer’s disease, BFC neurons are highly affected, which is why NGF has been indicated as a potential protective factor for this neurodegenerative disease.
Although NGF was originally discovered because of its function in development, it is now known to function throughout the entire life of an animal. In the central nervous system, the greatest amount of NGF is produced in the cortex, the hippocampus and in the pituitary gland, although there are many more areas where this neutrophil factor is produced, such as the spinal cord and the retina.
NGF also seems to play a role in the immune system, since NGF receptors are expressed in immune organs and on immune cell populations. This allows NGF to modulate cell differentiation and influence the immune response. During inflammation, NGF concentrations in the tissues change and enhanced production of NGF has been reported in inflamed tissues of patients with autoimmune diseases. The reasons for this however are far from being fully understood.
Neurohealth Properties of Hericium erinaceus Mycelia Enriched with Erinacines.
Li IC, Lee LY, Tzeng TT, Chen WP, Chen YP, Shiao YJ, Chen CC
Behav Neurol. 2018; 2018():5802634.
Absolute Bioavailability, Tissue Distribution, and Excretion of Erinacine S in Hericium erinaceus Mycelia
Jun-Hao Hu,1,† I-Chen Li,2,† Ting-Wei Lin,2 Wan-Ping Chen,2 Li-Ya Lee,2 Chin-Chu Chen,1,2,3,4 and Chia-Feng Kuo1,*