The small heat shock protein 27 (Hsp27) is well documented to promote neuronal survival in neurodegenerative diseases and following nerve injury. It can directly inhibit apoptotic pathways, and as a chaperone it can ameliorate the toxic effects of misfolded proteins. More recently, Hsp27 has been implicated to also play a role in neurite outgrowth. Thus, Hsp27 is situated at the intersection of neuronal survival and differentiation and, as such, it has dual potential as a key therapeutic target for neuroregeneration. (C) 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.