CNTF encoded by this gene is a polypeptide hormone and nerve growth factor whose actions have mainly been studied in the nervous system where it promotes neurotransmitter synthesis and neurite outgrowth in certain neuronal populations including astrocytes. The protein is a potent survival factor for neurons and oligodendrocytes and may be relevant in reducing tissue destruction during inflammatory attacks. A mutation in this gene, which results in aberrant splicing, leads to ciliary neurotrophic factor deficiency, but this phenotype is not causally related to neurologic disease. In addition to the predominant monocistronic transcript originating from this locus, the gene is also co-transcribed with the upstream ZFP91 gene. Co-transcription from the two loci results in a transcript that contains a complete coding region for the zinc finger protein but lacks a complete coding region for ciliary neurotrophic factor. CNTF has also been shown to be expressed by cells on the bone surface, and to reduce the activity of bone forming cells, osteoblasts.