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J Neurosci. 2010 Nov 10;30(45):14964-71. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4812-10.2010.

Removing brakes on adult brain plasticity: from molecular to behavioral interventions.

Author information

  • 1Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, University of Rochester, Rochester New York 14627-0268, USA. daphne@cvs.rochester.edu

Abstract

Adult brain plasticity, although possible, remains more restricted in scope than during development. Here, we address conditions under which circuit rewiring may be facilitated in the mature brain. At a cellular and molecular level, adult plasticity is actively limited. Some of these "brakes" are structural, such as perineuronal nets or myelin, which inhibit neurite outgrowth. Others are functional, acting directly upon excitatory-inhibitory balance within local circuits. Plasticity in adulthood can be induced either by lifting these brakes through invasive interventions or by exploiting endogenous permissive factors, such as neuromodulators. Using the amblyopic visual system as a model, we discuss genetic, pharmacological, and environmental removal of brakes to enable recovery of vision in adult rodents. Although these mechanisms remain largely uncharted in the human, we consider how they may provide a biological foundation for the remarkable increase in plasticity after action video game play by amblyopic subjects.

PMID:
21068299
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2992973
Free PMC Article

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