Protective Factors

Whether or not a neuron is injured may depend not only on the presence of inflammatory and toxic factors but also on protective mechanisms. For example, Sanders and colleagues recently reported that regions of the brain in which fibroblast growth factor (FGF) is expressed show less evidence of neural injury in the context of HIV infection. They suggested that FGF may be involved in altering intracellular signaling so that cascades leading to apoptosis (programmed cell death) are downregulated.

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