Nerve growth factor (NGF) is essential for the survival of sensory and sympathetic neurons during development. However, in the adult, NGF and its interaction with tropomyosin receptor kinase A receptor (TrkA) has been found to play a critical role in nociception and nervous system plasticity in pain conditions. Thus, various monoclonal antibody (mAb) therapies targeting this pathway have been investigated in the development of new pharmacotherapies for chronic pain. Although none of the mAbs against NGF are yet approved for use in humans, they look very promising for the effective control of pain. Recently, species-specific anti-NGF mAbs for the management of osteoarthritis (OA)-associated pain in dogs and cats has been developed, and early clinical trials have been conducted. Anti-NGF therapy looks to be both very effective and very promising as a novel therapy against chronic pain in dogs and cats. This review outlines the mechanism of action of NGF, the role of NGF in osteoarthritis, research in rodent OA models and the current status of the development of anti-NGF mAbs in humans. Furthermore, we describe and discuss the recent development of species-specific anti-NGF mAbs for the treatment of OA-associated pain in veterinary medicine.
- monoclonal antibody
- nerve growth factor