Denervation facilitates neuronal growth in the motor cortex of rats in the presence of behavioral demand

Neurosci Lett. 2000 Jun 23;287(2):85-8. doi: 10.1016/s0304-3940(00)01138-1.


This study tests the hypothesis that degeneration of a neocortical pathway may facilitate behaviorally-induced growth of neurons in a connected region of the cortex. Degeneration of trancallosal afferents to the motor cortex and changes in forelimb use were independently manipulated in adult rats. The combination of degeneration and behavioral change resulted in the growth of layer V pyramidal neuron dendrites which was not found as a result of either denervation or behavioral manipulation alone. These results indicate that mild degeneration in the adult brain can facilitate neuronal growth when accompanied by appropriate behavioral demand, a finding which has implications for rehabilitative therapy after brain damage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Corpus Callosum / cytology
  • Corpus Callosum / surgery
  • Dendrites / physiology
  • Denervation
  • Forelimb / innervation
  • Forelimb / physiology
  • Immobilization / physiology
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Motor Cortex / cytology*
  • Motor Cortex / physiology*
  • Motor Neurons / cytology*
  • Motor Neurons / physiology
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Pyramidal Cells / physiology
  • Pyramidal Cells / ultrastructure
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Recovery of Function / physiology