Neural activity and the dynamics of central nervous system development

Nat Neurosci. 2004 Apr;7(4):327-32. doi: 10.1038/nn1218.


Recent imaging studies show that the formation of neural connections in the central nervous system is a highly dynamic process. The iterative formation and elimination of synapses and neuronal branches result in the formation of a much larger number of trial connections than is maintained in the mature brain. Neural activity modulates development through biasing this process of formation and elimination, promoting the formation and stabilization of appropriate synaptic connections on the basis of functional activity patterns.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Central Nervous System / cytology
  • Central Nervous System / growth & development*
  • Electrophysiology
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological
  • Nervous System Physiological Phenomena
  • Neural Pathways / cytology
  • Neural Pathways / growth & development*
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Synapses / physiology*
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*