Transfer of Information from Effector Organs to Innervating Neurons by Retrograde Axonal Transport of Macromolecules
The functional capacity of integrated neuronal systems such as the human brain depends not only on the numerous synaptic contacts between their neurons, but also on the capability of these neurons to adapt their synaptic connectivity in response to changing functional requirements. This ability to undergo plastic adaptations represents a basic difference between the function of an integrated neuronal system and that of a computer. Thus, if a nerve impulse is transmitted from one neuron to the other by means of transmitter substances the response of the effector neuron is not confined to the short-term effects such as changes in the ionic permeability of the neuronal membrane. The response also involves changes in the macromolecular composition of the effector cell which may be reflected by covalent alterations of macromolecules, e.g., phosphorylation, or by changes in the rate of synthesis of macromolecules which directly or indirectly change the functional connection between neurons (cf. Cragg, 1970; Thoenen & Otten, 1976).
KeywordsNerve Growth Factor Tyrosine Hydroxylase Nerve Terminal Sympathetic Ganglion Superior Cervical Ganglion
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