Synapse elimination in the central nervous system: functional significance and cellular mechanisms

Rev Neurosci. Apr-Jun 1996;7(2):85-101. doi: 10.1515/revneuro.1996.7.2.85.


Recent research into the developmental elimination of supernumerary synapses has increased understanding of this process. In this review we discuss synapse elimination both at the neuromuscular junction and in the central nervous system, considering some possible underlying mechanisms suggested by recent studies. In addition a well-described example of central nervous system synapse elimination, the climbing fiber-Purkinje cell synapse of the cerebellum, is used to explore the functional significance of synaptic regression during brain development.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Central Nervous System / cytology
  • Central Nervous System / physiology*
  • Purkinje Cells / physiology*
  • Purkinje Cells / ultrastructure
  • Synapses / physiology*