Neuronal plasticity: beyond the critical period

Cell. 2014 Nov 6;159(4):727-37. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.10.035.


Neuronal plasticity in the brain is greatly enhanced during critical periods early in life and was long thought to be rather limited thereafter. Studies in primary sensory areas of the neocortex have revealed a substantial degree of plasticity in the mature brain, too. Often, plasticity in the adult neocortex lies dormant but can be reactivated by modifications of sensory input or sensory-motor interactions, which alter the level and pattern of activity in cortical circuits. Such interventions, potentially in combination with drugs targeting molecular brakes on plasticity present in the adult brain, might help recovery of function in the injured or diseased brain.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / growth & development
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Critical Period, Psychological
  • Dominance, Ocular
  • Humans
  • Neocortex / physiology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity*
  • Species Specificity