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Int Rev Cell Mol Biol. 2016;321:89-169. doi: 10.1016/bs.ircmb.2015.09.004. Epub 2015 Nov 17.

Microtubule Dynamics in Neuronal Development, Plasticity, and Neurodegeneration.

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Department of Neurobiology, University of Osnabrück, Osnabrück, Germany.


Neurons are the basic information-processing units of the nervous system. In fulfilling their task, they establish a structural polarity with an axon that can be over a meter long and dendrites with a complex arbor, which can harbor ten-thousands of spines. Microtubules and their associated proteins play important roles during the development of neuronal morphology, the plasticity of neurons, and neurodegenerative processes. They are dynamic structures, which can quickly adapt to changes in the environment and establish a structural scaffold with high local variations in composition and stability. This review presents a comprehensive overview about the role of microtubules and their dynamic behavior during the formation and maturation of processes and spines in the healthy brain, during aging and under neurodegenerative conditions. The review ends with a discussion of microtubule-targeted therapies as a perspective for the supportive treatment of neurodegenerative disorders.


aging; axon; dendrite; dendritic spine; microtubule; microtubule-associated proteins; neurodegenerative disease; neuron

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