Peptides > Cerebrolysin


Cerebrolysin is a peptide preparation derived from porcine sources with low molecular weight and containing various free amino acids. Its notable neuroprotective and neurotrophic properties make it valuable for a range of research applications. This preparation comprises active peptide fragments, including nerve growth factor, BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor), Ciliary Nerve Growth Factor, P-21, enkephalins, and orexin.

Cerebrolysin exhibits pharmacodynamic properties that closely resemble those of endogenous neurotrophic factors. Neurotrophic factors play crucial roles in the growth, maintenance, and repair of neurons. They also possess neuroprotective attributes, enhancing the resilience of neural pathways and the integrity of neurons themselves. Moreover, these factors promote synaptic plasticity, a mechanism by which the brain reinforces specific neural pathways.

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1. Introduction to Cerebrolysin


2. Cerebrolysin Structure


3. How Does Cerebrolysin Work?


(FPF-1070) is not a single peptide, but rather a mixture of peptides derived from tissues of the porcine central nervous system. It is known to contain brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF), and nerve growth factor (NGF). It is primarily of interest in the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders like dementia (especially vascular dementia) and has been researched heavily in the setting of acute stroke.


PubChem CID: 472407974
CAS Number: 12656-61-0
Synonym: Cerebrolyzin, FPE 1070, Renacenz, 37KZM6S21G

Cerebrolysin lacks a single, distinct molecular structure since it is a naturally occurring mixture of various peptides. The FDA has classified it as an orphan drug, signifying its potential utility in treating exceptionally rare diseases, which would not incentivize further research or development without government support. This orphan drug designation has been granted to Cerebrolysin due to its prospective applications in addressing frontotemporal dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

How Does Cerebrolysin Work?

Composition: Cerebrolysin is composed of several neuropeptides, including:

  • Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)
  • Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF)
  • Ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF)
  • Nerve growth factor (NGF).

Origin and Use of Cerebrolysin: Originally developed in Austria in 1949, Cerebrolysin has gained significant usage in Eastern countries, particularly Russia and China. It has been classified as a Vital and Essential Medicine in Russia since 1992.

Cerebrolysin’s Mechanisms: Cerebrolysin’s actions can be better understood by examining the functions of its individual components:

  1. Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF): BDNF plays crucial roles in neuron and synapse growth, as well as synapse health. It is implicated in various neurological conditions like schizophrenia, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, and epilepsy. Additionally, BDNF is involved in stress response, memory formation, and post-traumatic stress disorder development.

  2. Glial Cell Line-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (GDNF): GDNF supports neuron survival, especially those producing dopamine and motor neurons. It has potential applications in Parkinson’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) treatment. GDNF also contributes to kidney and sperm development and alcohol metabolism.

  3. Ciliary Neurotrophic Factor (CNTF): CNTF is a polypeptide hormone essential for neurotransmission and the growth of specific neural populations, such as astrocytes. It has been explored as a potential treatment for ALS and as an appetite suppressant. Additionally, a recombinant CNTF variant is being studied for its potential in treating retinitis pigmentosa, an eye disorder.

  4. Nerve Growth Factor (NGF): NGF regulates sensory and sympathetic neuron growth, survival, and proliferation, preventing programmed cell death in these neuron populations. It also plays a role in immune system regulation and protecting pancreatic beta cells from apoptosis.

Collectively, these neurotrophic factors enable Cerebrolysin to safeguard neurons from damage, stimulate their growth and survival, enhance certain central nervous system signaling, and mitigate effects of neurodegenerative diseases. Cerebrolysin has demonstrated the ability to:

  • Enhance neuroplasticity
  • Increase neuron survival
  • Protect neurons from harm
  • Foster neuron growth
  • Regulate specific neurotransmitter functions.

Role in Dementia: Studies on dementia patients indicate that Cerebrolysin can enhance overall outcomes and cognitive abilities. There is interest in combining this extract with cholinesterase inhibitors to potentially achieve synergistic effects.

A 2012 meta-analysis discovered that Cerebrolysin can ameliorate dementia symptoms, with benefits persisting for several months post-treatment. Notably, it may be beneficial in alleviating neuropsychiatric symptoms linked to dementia.


Alzheimer’s and Cerebrolysin Disease: Cerebrolysin has shown remarkable enhancements in cognitive function among individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. In research where the peptide was administered for 12 weeks, the positive effects persisted for three months. However, more extensive investigations are required to determine whether continued usage of Cerebrolysin can further extend these benefits.

Neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease are characterized by the loss of dendritic connections, leading to impaired neuron communication and eventual neuronal death. Studies in mice have demonstrated that Cerebrolysin can ameliorate the pathology responsible for dendritic and axonal deterioration, particularly in apoE-deficient mice, which serve as a model for neurodegenerative diseases. ApoE mutations are associated with specific Alzheimer’s disease forms and atherosclerosis.

While controversy surrounds the role of amyloid-beta in conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, it is evident that amyloid-beta levels in the brain correlate directly with disease severity. Research has indicated that, in addition to delivering clinical cognitive benefits, Cerebrolysin reduces amyloid-beta production by regulating one of its precursors. This reduction aligns with changes in symptom severity, suggesting a shared mechanism influencing both clinical measures and amyloid-beta concentrations.

Delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s disease by just five years can significantly reduce the overall disease burden by 50%. This could yield substantial public health benefits and decrease healthcare expenditures per capita among the elderly population. Emerging evidence strongly suggests that Cerebrolysin may offer such an advantage by contributing to sustained reductions in Alzheimer’s disease prevalence.

Cerebrolysin in Parkinson’s Disease: Cerebrolysin contains Glial Cell Line-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (GDNF), which plays a crucial role in protecting dopamine-producing neurons. The loss of these neurons in Parkinson’s disease contributes to motor deficits and may influence behavioral aspects of the condition. Research has indicated that controlled release nano delivery of Cerebrolysin to the central nervous system has profound effects on all aspects of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Mice receiving Cerebrolysin exhibit evident clinical benefits and protection against Parkinson’s disease. Furthermore, Cerebrolysin seems to reduce the levels of several hormones associated with worsened Parkinson’s disease outcomes.

Cerebrolysin in Stroke: Studies in Romania have confirmed that Cerebrolysin is safe and well-tolerated when used after a stroke, particularly hemorrhagic stroke. Subsequent research, including a comprehensive meta-analysis, has reinforced the safety aspect and demonstrated that Cerebrolysin improves recovery rates when administered within 72 hours following a stroke.

Notably, the combination of Cerebrolysin and motor rehabilitation appears particularly beneficial post-stroke. A phase IV trial conducted in Korea found that when administered alongside rehabilitation, Cerebrolysin yielded significantly superior outcomes in patients with severe motor dysfunction. These results were substantiated by diffusion tensor and resting state functional MRI. Conversely, this advantage was not observed in cases of mild stroke. This suggests that Cerebrolysin’s primary benefit lies in stimulating the growth of new neurons and neural connections. In situations where these connections are relatively preserved, as in mild stroke, the impact of Cerebrolysin is less apparent than in settings where neurons and their connections are severely compromised, as in severe stroke cases.


Cognitive Enhancemen and Cerebrolysin: Studies have revealed that when Cerebrolysin is administered without rehabilitation, it primarily demonstrates benefits in cognitive aspects rather than motor skills. These findings indicate that Cerebrolysin supports and enhances organic learning, whether in the realm of rote or motor learning, but doesn’t induce growth in neural tissue without corresponding effort. This observation aligns with research in rats, which demonstrates that Cerebrolysin elevates levels of proteins associated with neuron plasticity while reducing levels of proteins linked to apoptosis. In simpler terms, Cerebrolysin enhances the advantages of mental exertion but doesn’t promote neural tissue growth in the absence of such effort.

Cerebrolysin in Brain Injury: In studies involving infants with communication delay resulting from brain injury, the administration of Cerebrolysin, when combined with speech therapy and early interventions, has led to significant improvements in outcomes. These findings echo those from stroke studies, emphasizing that Cerebrolysin is most effective when the objective is to stimulate the growth of new neurons and neuronal connections. This suggests that Cerebrolysin could shed light on fundamental pathways involved in human learning, potentially paving the way for the development of nootropics aimed at accelerating learning and enhancing memory.

Compelling research in the context of cerebral palsy also suggests that Cerebrolysin can enhance both cognitive and motor function following injury. In cases of motor function, Cerebrolysin contributes to an accelerated rate of functional improvement during physical therapy. However, long-term outcomes remain relatively unchanged, which is expected, given that neurotrophic factor levels tend to be higher in children and young adults.

In adults with traumatic brain injury, preliminary findings from a double-blinded, placebo-controlled, randomized phase 2 pilot study have indicated that Cerebrolysin can improve cognitive function, motor control, and long-term memory. Although this study focused on a limited population with mild traumatic brain injury, it suggests that Cerebrolysin, in conjunction with standard therapy, offers significant benefits in neurological injury recovery. These results align with earlier research in rats, demonstrating that Cerebrolysin enhances sensory-motor function post-brain injury.

Cerebrolysin and Pain Management: A noteworthy discovery regarding Cerebrolysin is its potential in pain management. Studies in rats have shown that Cerebrolysin can reduce pain and related symptoms associated with migraines. Measurements of pro-inflammatory cytokines like TNF-alpha and IL-1B indicate that the pain-inducing molecules decrease following Cerebrolysin administration. These studies were conducted using rat models of chronic migraines, suggesting that Cerebrolysin may offer significant relief to those dealing with debilitating headaches, particularly chronic migraines. Given the challenging nature of migraine treatment, especially chronic migraines, this finding holds promise for improving the well-being of many individuals.

Similar pain-reducing effects have been observed in rat models of neuropathic (nerve) pain. Cerebrolysin administration in this context helps alleviate mechanical pain, though its impact on inflammatory pain requires further investigation. This finding is significant as it suggests a reduction in pain resulting from the nerve plasticity and nerve growth properties of Cerebrolysin.

Cerebrolysin Summary: The constituents of Cerebrolysin support neuron survival, encourage the growth of new neurons and neural connections, enhance brain neuroplasticity, and mediate specific neurotransmitter functions. As a result, Cerebrolysin has demonstrated benefits in various neurodegenerative conditions, including ALS, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and traumatic brain injury. Future research may explore the potential of Cerebrolysin, when used over extended periods, to prevent neurodegeneration from occurring initially. The peptide could also offer pathways to cognitive enhancement, deepening our understanding of the mechanisms governing learning, memory, and intelligence.

Article Author

The above literature was researched, edited and organized by Dr. Logan, M.D. Dr. Logan holds a doctorate degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and a B.S. in molecular biology.


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