Plasticity of the Developing Synapse

  • Mark C. Fishman
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 181)


“Plasticity” is a term that describes the anatomical, cellular, and molecular reorganizations of the nervous system that occur in response to experience. It serves as a useful rubric to distinguish processes that are environmentally regulated from those that unfold from a rigidly programmed read-out of the genome. Thus, some connections might be termed “plastic” and others “hard-wired”. The experience that modifies connections is, of course, ultimately enforced at the molecular level, often through modification of neuronal activity. However, the experimental paradigm may utilize manipulations at a site distant from the actual neurons of interest. Analysis of changes in connections to the cortex during visual deprivation provide one elegant example of the power of this approach1. Plasticity of the nervous system is prominent in developing animals, where even transient deprivation may have permanent sequelae.


Nerve Growth Factor Postsynaptic Cell Presynaptic Cell Permanent Sequela Cell BioI 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark C. Fishman
    • 1
  1. 1.Section on Neurobiology, Developmental Biology LaboratoryMassachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School Howard Hughes Medical InstituteBostonUSA

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