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Int J Neurosci. 2005 Jun;115(6):803-28.

The neuromuscular junction: anatomical features and adaptations to various forms of increased, or decreased neuromuscular activity.

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Department of Kinesiology, The College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia 23187-8795, USA.


The neuromuscular junction (NMJ) allows communication between motor neurons and muscle fibers. During development, marked morphological changes occur as the functional NMJ is formed. During the postnatal period of rapid growth and muscle enlargement, endplate size concurrently increases. Even beyond this period of pronounced plasticity, the NMJ undergoes subtle morphological remodeling--expansion and retraction--although its overall dimensions remain stable. This natural, continual NMJ remodeling is amplified with alterations in neuromuscular activity. Increased activity, presented by exercise training, typically results in expansion of NMJ size. Disuse, brought about by neurotoxins, denervation, or spaceflight, also elicits substantial reconfiguring of the endplate.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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