Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 349, Issue 1, pp 161–167 | Cite as

Influence of the environment on adult CNS plasticity and repair

  • Simona Foscarin
  • Ferdinando Rossi
  • Daniela CarulliEmail author


During developmental critical periods, external stimuli are crucial for information processing, acquisition of new functions or functional recovery after CNS damage. These phenomena depend on the capability of neurons to modify their functional properties and/or their connections, generally defined as “plasticity”. Although plasticity decreases after the closure of critical periods, the adult CNS retains significant capabilities for structural remodelling and functional adaptation. At the molecular level, structural modifications of neural circuits depend on the balance between intrinsic growth properties of the involved neurons and growth-regulatory cues of the extracellular milieu. Interestingly, experience acts on this balance, so as to create permissive conditions for neuritic remodelling. Here, we present an overview of recent findings concerning the effects of experience on cellular and molecular processes responsible for producing structural plasticity of neural networks or functional recovery after an insult to the adult CNS (e.g. traumatic injury, ischemia or neurodegenerative disease). Understanding experience-dependent mechanisms is crucial for the development of tailored rehabilitative strategies, which can be exploited alone or in combination with specific therapeutic interventions to improve neural repair after damage.


Plasticity Enriched environment Neurite remodelling Lesion Training 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simona Foscarin
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ferdinando Rossi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Daniela Carulli
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Neuroscience, Neuroscience Institute of Turin (NIT)University of TurinTurinItaly
  2. 2.Neuroscience Institute Cavalieri-Ottolenghi (NICO)Orbassano (Turin)Italy

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