Theoretical aspects of neuroplasticity

Physiol Res. 1999;48(2):87-97.


The authors propose an integrative theory of the organization of neuroplastic processes. Neuroplasticity is assumed to be one of the essential characteristics of the nervous tissue which may be manifested comparatively rapidly and result in reversible changes (functional plasticity). It may also modulate the expression of genotype into phenotype (adaptation) and thus bring about long-lasting effects. Neuroplastic mechanisms are triggered by various natural or artificial stimuli, which may arise in the internal or external environment, and they may differ quantitatively or qualitatively. The effects of plasticity can lead to either positive or negative changes during development (evolutionary plasticity), after short-term exposition (reactive plasticity), after long-term or continuous stimuli (adaptational plasticity), and during functional or structural recovery of damaged neuronal circuits (reparation plasticity). Manifestations of plasticity have probably the same basis, irrespective of the cause which triggered them or the brain region where they were accomplished. Neuroplastic mechanisms are based on the modulation of signal transmission across synapses. They can be related to interneuronal relations. The resulting changes may occur in the communication between neurons (synaptic level), in the activity of local neuronal circuits (at the level of local circuits) or in the relations between individual functional brain systems (multimodular level).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Neuronal Plasticity*