Ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) is a member of the cytokine family. It is a polypeptide hormone that has functions in promoting neurotransmitter synthesis and neurite outgrowth in certain neuronal populations. Its actions appear to be restricted to the nervous system. Ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) has biological effects through the activation of a multi-subunit receptor complex, consisting of an extracellular CNTF binding subunit (CNTFα) and two transmembrane signal transduction proteins: glycoprotein gp130 and LIF receptor. CNTF is considered as a potent survival factor of neurons and oligodendrocyteands may be relevant in reducing tissue destruction during inflammatory attacks. CNTF also is a survival factor for neurons of the peripheral sensory sympathetic and ciliary ganglia. It has been reported that CNTF could be an agent that has therapeutic potential and possibly induces differentiation of large multipolar ganglionic phenotype in a subset of progenitors.