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brain plasticity - what causes it?

Richard Norman rsnorman at mediaone.net
Sat Nov 6 11:35:52 EST 1999

John E Anderson wrote in message <38243B60.F9787ABC at unf.edu>...
       <snip earlier discussion>
> My question is do *all* neurons produce whatever it is that induces
>plasticity, or only some?

One of the least likely places to find plasticity might be the vertebrate
neuromuscular junction, which functions purely as a "relay" with no
integrative capability whatsoever.  Yet all the work on
denervation/reinnervation and especially cross reinnervation between fast
and slow nerve/muscle systems shows that there are complex developmental
influences between pre- and post- synaptic sides.

Also, in any synapse, the postsynaptic cell must somehow "know" exactly
where on the dendritic membrane it should deposit the synaptic receptors and
ion channels synthesized in the soma and transported down the processes.
This "knowledge" requires some interaction between the pre- and post-
synaptic sides.

Therefore it seems that every synapse involves cell signaling processes far
more complex than the simple generation of a postsynaptic potential.
Synaptic plasticity is just one possible outcome of this signaling

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