Repair and functional recovery after critically depends on structural and functional plasticity of preserved neuronal networks. A striking feature of brain structures where tissue reorganization and plasticity occur is a strong expression of the polysialylated neural cell adhesion molecule (PSA-NCAM). An important role of this molecule in various aspects of neuronal and synaptic plasticity has been revealed by many studies. Recently, a new mechanism has been elucidated whereby PSA-NCAM may contribute to signalling mediated by the neurotrophic factor BDNF, thereby sensitizing neurons to this growth factor. This mechanism was shown to be important for activity-induced synaptic plasticity and for the survival and differentiation of cortical neurons. A cross-talk between these molecules may, thus, reveal a key factor for properties of structural plasticity and in particular could mediate the activity-dependent aspects of synaptic network remodeling. Animal models have been developed to assess the role of these molecules in functional recovery after lesions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology