Developmental Axonal Pruning and Synaptic Plasticity

  • Bibiana Scelfo
  • Mario Rosario BuffelliEmail author


The functioning of the nervous system depends upon the underlying specific and highly ordered patterns of neuronal connections. The embryonic pattern of neuronal connectivity is essentially established by specific molecular cues and is refined by synapse elimination and axonal pruning of exuberant or inaccurate connections during later developmental stages. In this chapter we provide a general description of the phenomena of synapse elimination, axonal pruning, and synaptic plasticity in the central and the peripheral nervous system. Also, we briefly describe the role of the adhesion molecules in these processes.


Synapse elimination Polyneuronal innervation Axonal pruning Neuronal connectivity Synaptic plasticity 



We thank Telethon-Italy for the Grant No. GGP030164, MIUR-Italy for the Grant PRIN-2006, Fondazione Cariverona, University of Verona, the National Institute of Neuroscience-Italy and the Regione Piemonte, grant for Ricerca Sanitaria Finalizzata 2006.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Neuroscienze – Sezione di FisiologiaIstituto Nazionale di Neuroscienze, Universita’ di TorinoTorinoItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Scienze Neurologiche e della Visione, Sezione di FisiologiaUniversità di VeronaVeronaItalia

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