Regressive events play a key role in modifying neural connectivity in early development. An important regressive event is the pruning of neuronal processes. Pruning is a strategy often used to selectively remove exuberant neuronal branches and connections in the immature nervous system to ensure the proper formation of functional circuitry. In the following review, we discuss our present understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate the pruning of axons during neuronal development as well as in neurological diseases. The evidence suggests that there are several similarities between the mechanisms that are involved in developmental axon pruning and axon elimination in disease. In summary, these findings provide researchers with a unique perspective on how developmental plasticity is achieved and how to develop strategies to treat complex neurological diseases.
One contribution of 13 to a Theme Issue ‘The regenerating brain’.
- © 2006 The Royal Society