The growth factor VEGF (Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor) is known for its ability to stimulate growth of blood vessels but is also known to promote the health and growth of neurons. Researchers in Michigan have looked at levels of VEGF in mice genetically modified to have motor neurone disease (SOD1 gene). They found that the levels of VEGF in MND mice were 50% lower than those in normal mice. The researchers then tested the effects of adding VEGF to motor neurones grown in the laboratory. They found that adding VEGF was protective against the toxic effects of mutant SOD1. These studies suggest that VEGF may be useful as a potential therapeutic tool for the treatment of MND.
Source: International MND research update -September 2009, Dr Justin Yerbury for MNDRIA