Trans-Synaptic Regulation of the Synthesis of Specific Neuronal Proteins

  • H. Thoenen
Part of the Journal of Neural Transmission book series (NEURAL SUPPL, volume 12)


For several decades the main interest in neurobiological research was concentrated on the morphological aspects of neuronal systems and on the electrical manifestations of neuronal activity. The biochemical studies preferentially concerned static-descriptive approaches particularly those referring to macromolecular constituents of neurons. The neurons were thought to represent relatively stable electronic entities, designed to generate, transmit and modulate electrical impulses. This attitude to the interpretation of neuronal function and particularly to interneuronal relationship prompted the comparison of integrated neuronal systems with computers. However, a fundamental difference between a computer and an integrated neuronal system is the capability of the latter to adapt to changes in functional requirements. The capability to adapt to functional requirements is characterized by the term “neuronal plasticity” and involves not only changes in the macromolecular composition of the neurons but even in their morphological features. The basis for such plastic reactions is a relatively rapid turnover of the macromolecules in question and the availability of mechanisms which link the neuronal activity with the regulation of the synthesis of these macromolecules.


Tyrosine Hydroxylase Adrenal Medulla Sympathetic Ganglion Superior Cervical Ganglion Adrenergic Neuron 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Thoenen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PharmacologyBiocenter of the UniversityBaselSwitzerland

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