Cellular and molecular neuronal plasticity

Handb Clin Neurol. 2015;128:681-90. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444-63521-1.00042-X.


The brain has the capability to adapt to function when tissue is compromised. This capability of adaptation paves the road to recovery and allows for rehabilitation after a traumatic brain injury (TBI). This chapter addresses neuroplasticity within the context of TBI. Here neuroplasticity is defined as changes in neuronal structure and function, including synaptic changes as well as modifications in neural pathways. First, the influence of TBI pathology on neuroplasticity is addressed. Here, proteins that are important in neuroplasticity are introduced and a description given of how these are affected in a temporal and severity-dependent manner. Secondly, given that we are becoming increasingly aware that the brain's response to injury is highly influenced by the environmental milieu, the manner in which behavioral manipulations have an effect on TBI-associated neuroplasticity is addressed. A description is given of how specific environmental qualities may facilitate or hinder neuroplasticity. Finally, the long-term effects of neuroplasticity and the relevance it has to rehabilitation are described.

Keywords: Neuroplasticity; metabolism; pathpysiology; traumatic brain injury.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Brain Injuries / pathology*
  • Brain Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Recovery of Function / physiology