Neuroprotection and neuroregeneration are two of the most promising disease-modifying therapies for the incurable and widespread Parkinson's disease. In Parkinson's disease, progressive degeneration of nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons causes debilitating motor symptoms. Neurotrophic factors play important regulatory roles in the development, survival and maintenance of specific neuronal populations. These factors have the potential to slow down, halt or reverse the loss of nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons in Parkinson's disease. Several neurotrophic factors have been investigated in this regard. This review article discusses the neurodevelopmental roles and therapeutic potential of three dopaminergic neurotrophic factors: glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor, neurturin and growth/differentiation factor 5.