Because of their strong effects on cell survival and on synaptic function, neurotrophic factors (NTFs) have been hypothesized to be involved in some aspects of status epilepticus (SE) and in its possible consequences. This hypothesis has been explored mainly for 2 NTFs, namely fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF-2) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). This article focuses on these 2 NTFs. I first summarize their biologic features and then describe existing evidence supporting their implication in SE and its outcomes. Available data support a direct implication of FGF-2 and BDNF in SE and in its consequences. However, these NTFs have been found to exert some contrasting effects, for example, to favor seizures but protect from cell damage. A better understanding of the mechanisms of FGF-2 and BDNF biosynthesis and signaling will be therefore instrumental for the development of therapeutic strategies that are not compromised by paradoxical side effects.
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