, Volume 242, Issue 1 Supplement, pp S43-S53

Behavioural consequences of neural transplantation

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Neural grafts can reverse many functional deficits associated with brain damage, whether of traumatic, toxic, neurodegenerative or genetic origin. In some model systems recovery can be partial or complete, whereas in others the grafts have limited effects or may actually cause further dysfunction. In order to devise rational and effective transplantation strategies it is necessary to understand the mechanisms by which grafts exert their functional effects. Several alternatives have been proposed, and these include non-specific consequences of surgery, acute diffuse neurotrophic and growth mechanisms, chronic diffuse release of deficient neurochemicals, bridging tissues for host regeneration, diffuse reinnervation of the host brain, and reciprocal graft-host reconnection. These alternative mechanisms are not necessarily exclusive in any particular situation, and all have been seen to apply in different model systems.