Author(s): Kuffler DP
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Abstract Establishment of appropriate neuronal connections during development and regeneration requires the extension of processes that must then grow in the correct direction, find and recognize their targets, and make synapses with them. During development, embryonic neurons gradually establish central and peripheral connections in an evolving cellular environment in which neurotrophic factors are provided by supporting and target cells that promote neuronal survival, differentiation, and process outgrowth. Some cells also release neurotropic factors that direct the outgrowth of neuronal processes toward their targets. Following development the neurotrophic requirements of some adult neurons change so that, although they respond to neurotrophic factors, they no longer require exogenous neurotrophins to survive or to extend processes. Within the central nervous system (CNS), the ability of neurons to extend processes is eventually lost because of a change in their cellular environment from outgrowth permissive to inhibitory. Thus, neuronal connections that are lost in the adult CNS are rarely reestablished. In contrast, the environment of the adult peripheral nervous system fosters process outgrowth and synapse formation. This article discusses the neurotrophic requirements of embryonic and adult neurons, as well as the importance of neurotropic factors in directing the outgrowth of regenerating adult axons.
This article was published in Mol Neurobiol
and referenced in International Journal of Neurorehabilitation