Immunophilins: Neuroprotective agents and promoters of neural regeneration

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Immunophilins are a family of proteins mainly known because they act as receptors of the immunosuppressant drugs cyclosporin A (CsA) and FK506. Immunophilins serve several general functions, including regulation of mitochondrial permeability, modulation of ion channels stability and acting as chaperones for a variety of proteins. However, immunophilins are also present at high density in the nervous system. CsA, FK506 and other derivatives inhibit the function of immunophilins and, through bloking or activating several intracellular pathways, it has been shown that they exert neuroprotective effects in different experimental models of ischemia, Parkinson's disease and excitotoxic insults. Moreover, FK506 also has neuroregenerative effects, by enhancing the axonal regeneration rate after lesions of the peripheral nervous system. The development of new agents that selectively bind to immunophilins opens new interesting perspectives for the therapy of degenerative diseases and injuries of the nervous system.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-213
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2002


  • Axonal regeneration
  • Cyclosporin
  • FK506
  • Immunophilins
  • Neuroprotection


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