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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 784040, 9 pages
Review Article

NGF, Brain and Behavioral Plasticity

Section of Behavioral Neurosciences, Department of Cell Biology and Neurosciences, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Viale Regina Elena 299, 00161 Rome, Italy

Received 3 October 2011; Accepted 6 December 2011

Academic Editor: Eero Castren

Copyright © 2012 Alessandra Berry et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) was initially studied for its role as a key player in the regulation of peripheral innervations. However, the successive finding of its release in the bloodstream of male mice following aggressive encounters and its presence in the central nervous system led to the hypothesis that variations in brain NGF levels, caused by psychosocial stressor, and the related alterations in emotionality, could be functional to the development of proper strategies to cope with the stressor itself and thus to survive. Years later this vision is still relevant, and the body of evidence on the role of NGF has been strengthened and expanded from trophic factor playing a role in brain growth and differentiation to a much more complex messenger, involved in psychoneuroendocrine plasticity.