Synapse formation and plasticity: the roles of local protein synthesis

R. Wiersma-Meems, J. van Minnen, N.I. Syed

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

From simple reflexes in lower animals to complex motor patterns and learning and memory in higher animals, all nervous system functions hinge upon fundamental, albeit specialized, neuronal units termed synapses. The term synapse denotes the structural and functional building block upon which pivots the enormous information-processing capabilities of our brain. It is the neuronal communications through synapses that ultimately determine who we are and how we react and adapt to our ever-changing environment. Synapses are not only the epic center of our intellect, but they also control myriad traits of our personality, ranging from sinfulness to sainthood (see, e.g., Hamer 2004). Simply put - we are what our synapses deem us to be (LeDoux 2003)! Notwithstanding the reasoning that some aspects of the synaptic arrangement may be genetically hardwired, an overwhelming body of knowledge does nevertheless provide ample plausible evidence that synapses are highly plastic entities undergoing rapid adaptive changes throughout life. It is this adaptability that endows our brain with its "uncanny" powers. Copyright © 2005 Sage Publications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)228-237
Number of pages10
JournalNeuroscientist
Volume11
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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