Looks like this area is going to blow wide open, so here is a manual on what to watch for.

Nerve growth factors include GDNF, neurturin, persephin, and artemin.

GDNF got early play because it was found to suppress NMDA hyperexcitability in brain slices.

Artemin is particularly linked to pain and may be largely selective to pain cells, (although it seems to affect kidney cells and spermatogenesis), because it binds with GFRalpha3 which is found in pain nerves (nociceptors) and cells which express the IB4 lectin in the dorsal horn (see rdf's post on lectins), which is basically the nociceptors or pain cells. Artemin prevents the production of nitric oxide (NO) which is a known neurotransmitter for blood vessel wall activity.

Studies show a very close association of artemin with RET tyrosine kinase, which may be needed to accomplish maximum results. (RET tyrosine kinase aids in attaching activating phosphorylation bonds) Artemin causes pain nerves of the sympathetic ganglia to form, to survive, and to grow into tissues.

It comes as something of a surprise that a sympathetic nerve growth factor is so central to pain in the cord, but that is what studies indicate. Artemin is probably stored in the blood vessels which sympathetic nerves choose to grow along (See note on NO above).

It is chemically similar to the protein which carries iron, ferritin, but it has no central area for a metal to be present. Just as iron carries oxygen, artemin seems to be able to ward off oxidative stress (from redox reactions) in nerve cells. It may be neuroprotective as well as a growth factor. It will be THE nerve growth factor we pay the most attention to because of its binding with GFRalpha3 nociceptors in the cord, GFRalpha3 binding being considered a marker for a neuron that senses pain.

Lots of animals make Artemin, including brine shrimp, so this thing could get BIG.

[This message was edited by dejerine on 12-28-03 at 07:14 AM.]