The nerve growth factor (NGF), a member of the neurotrophins family, plays an important role in the nervous system but also in the reproductive apparatus and in sperm traits. The aim of this review is to summarize the effect of NGF on sperm functions of mammals. NGF was detected in seminal plasma of many animal species and its receptors, TrkA and p75NTR, are present in both epididymal and ejaculated sperm. The NGF, either endogenous or exogenous, may affects the kinetics and other sperm traits (e.g. capacitation, apoptosis, necrosis and acrosome reaction) and these effects appear modulated by the different receptors involved (TrkA or p75NTR). Although the animal species can affect the localization of receptors, TrkA seems mainly to be confined in the head and p75NTR in the midpiece and tail. Considering that some seminal disorders and sperm traits have been correlated with a lower NGF concentration, this review provides recent insights on the role of NGF on sperm cells and the possible mechanism implicated.
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