Neurotransmitter regulation of neuronal outgrowth, plasticity and survival

Trends Neurosci. 1989 Jul;12(7):265-70. doi: 10.1016/0166-2236(89)90026-x.


Molecules used for communication in mature nervous systems also play important roles in development, maintenance and plasticity of individual neurons. This paper reviews the evidence that neurotransmitters, in addition to their mediation of trans-synaptic information coding, can induce a spectrum of effects on neuronal cytoarchitecture, ranging from neurite sprouting to dendritic pruning and even cell death. Such profound alterations may well constitute a part of the normal functioning and structuring of the nervous system as well as contribute to severe pathological processes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / physiology
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Neuronal Plasticity / drug effects*
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / pharmacology
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / physiology*
  • Second Messenger Systems / drug effects


  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Calcium