Transynaptic Regulation of Neuronal Enzyme Synthesis

  • Hans Thoenen
Part of the Handbook of Psychopharmacology book series (HBKPS, volume 3)


Until fairly recently, the main emphasis in neurobiological research was concentrated on morphological features of neuronal systems and electrical phenomena of neuronal activity. Biochemical investigations were mainly confined to static-descriptive approaches, particularly those concerning the macromolecular constituents of neurons. The neurons were thought to act as stable electronic components designed to generate, transmit, and modulate electrical impulses. This attitude regarding the interpretation of neuronal activity and neuronal interaction prompted a comparison of neuronal systems with computers. However, the basic difference between a computer and an integrated neuronal system such as the mammalian brain is the “plasticity” of the latter, i.e., its capability to adapt to changing functional requirements (Giacobini, 1970). Although the general arrangement of neurons and their “wiring” are genetically determined, there is a relatively wide range of variability available for modifications according to the use of the neuronal pathways and connections. The ability of neurons to undergo “plastic reactions” is reflected not only by biochemically detectable changes in their macromolecular composition but even changes in their morphology (Cragg, 1972; Horn et al., 1973). These function-dependent biochemical and structural changes do not appear to have an analogue in contemporary electronic systems.


Tyrosine Hydroxylase Adrenal Medulla Sympathetic Ganglion Superior Cervical Ganglion Choline Acetyltransferase 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans Thoenen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PharmacologyBiocenter of the UniversityBaselSwitzerland

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