Neuronal activity during development: permissive or instructive?

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 1999 Feb;9(1):88-93. doi: 10.1016/s0959-4388(99)80011-7.


Experimental studies over the past year have shown that neural activity has a range of effects on the development of neural pathways. Although activity appears unimportant for establishing many aspects of the gross morphology and topology of the brain, there are many cases where the presence of neural activity is essential for the formation of a mature system of neural connections; in some instances, the pattern of neural activity actually orchestrates the final arrangement of neural connections.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amphibians
  • Animals
  • Brain / embryology*
  • Cats
  • Embryonic Induction
  • Eye / embryology
  • Ferrets
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Neural Pathways*
  • Neuronal Plasticity
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate
  • Superior Colliculi / embryology


  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate