Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disease characterised by the progressive degeneration of midbrain dopaminergic neurons, coupled with the intracellular accumulation of a-synuclein. Axonal degeneration is a central part of the pathology of PD. While the majority of PD cases are sporadic, some are genetic; the G2019S mutation in leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) is the most common genetic form. The application of neurotrophic factors to protect dopaminergic neurons is a proposed experimental therapy. One such neurotrophic factor is growth differentiation factor (GDF)5. GDF5 is a dopaminergic neurotrophic factor that has been shown to upregulate the expression of a protein called nucleoside diphosphate kinase A (NME1). However, whether NME1 is neuroprotective in cell models of axonal degeneration of relevance to PD is unknown. Here we show that treatment with NME1 can promote neurite growth in SH-SY5Y cells, and in cultured dopaminergic neurons treated with the neurotoxin 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA). Similar effects of NME1 were found in SH-SY5Y cells and dopaminergic neurons overexpressing human wild-type a-synuclein, and in stable SH-SY5Y cell lines carrying the G2019S LRRK2 mutation. We found that the effects of NME1 require the RORa/ROR2 receptors. Furthermore, increased NF-żB-dependent transcription was partially required for the neurite growth-promoting effects of NME1. Finally, a combined bioinformatics and biochemical analysis of the mitochondrial oxygen consumption rate revealed that NME1 enhanced mitochondrial function, which is known to be impaired in PD. These data show that recombinant NME1 is worthy of further study as a potential therapeutic agent for axonal protection in PD.