In the following several articles, different examples of plasticity within the spinal cord will be presented. In most cases, what will be described are changes that follow various types of nerve injury. Although the observations are not questioned, and the evidence of plasticity is impressive, several questions must be asked: What is the relevance of such plastic changes to the animal? Must the resultant changes be beneficial or do they merely indicate that changes occur in the presence of relatively significant injury? Does plasticity include all examples in which central nervous system connections are altered? What are the general principles of nervous system function that can be learned from an analysis of the modifiability of nervous system connections? For example, does the process of plasticity that is observed in the dorsal horn recapitulate developmental process?


Receptive Field Dorsal Horn Somatosensory Cortex Superficial Dorsal Horn Primary Afferent Fiber 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. BASBAUM, A.I. AND WALL, P.D. (1976) Chronic changes in the response of cells in adult cat dorsal horn following partial deafferentation: The appearance of responding cells in a previously non-responsive region. >Brain Research, 116, 181–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. CLARK,S.A., ALLARD, T., JENKINS, W.M. AND MERZENICH, M.M. (1988) Receptive fields in the body-surface map in adult cortext defined by temporally correlated inputs. >Nature, 332 444–445.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. DYKES, R.W., LANDRY, P., METHERATE, R. AND HICKS, T.P. (1984) Functional role of GABA in cat primary somatosensory cortex or anesthetized or paralyzed cats and rats. >Brain Research, 440, 133–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. MERZENICH, M.M., KAAS, J.H., WALL, J.T., NELSON, R.J., SUR, M. AND FELLEMAN, D. (1983) Topographic reorganization of somatosensory cortical areas 3b and 1 in adult monkeys following restricted deafferentation. >Neuroscience 8, 33–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. TESSLER, A., HIMES, B.T., SOPER, K., MURRAY, M., GOLDBERGER, M.E. AND REICHLIN, S. (1984) Recovery of substance P but not somatostatin in the cat spinal cord after unilateral lumbosacral dorsal rhizotomy: a quantitative study, >Brain Research, 305, 95–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Allan Basbaum
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Anatomy and PhysiologyUniversity of California San FranciscoSan FransiscoUSA

Personalised recommendations