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Neuronal Plasticity

Neuronal plasticity refers to the ability of the nervous system to change its activity in response to experience or injury by reorganizing its structure, function, or connections. It is a phenomenon found in the entire nervous system and can be observed throughout life. It is essential for the formation and refinement of neural networks during development but also for the ability to learn and memorize information as well as recovering from brain lesions. On a cellular level this phenomenon involves morphological and functional adaptations of axons, dendrites, and synapses.

The discovery that the brain is plastic and strongly influenced by environmental factors banished the dogma that the brain develops according to a predefined blueprint and remains unaltered throughout life. During development the brain is highly plastic. This time is characterized by an increase in absolute cell numbers combined with the formation of complex networks of neurites. It sets the foundation for a lifelong refinement and adaptation of synaptic connections. Basic mechanisms like NeurogenesisNeurite Outgrowth or Synaptogenesis are key to this early phase of neuronal development. However, the same mechanisms allow for neuronal plasticity in adulthood, where plasticity is thought to support cognition, such as learning, memory and executive function. The naturally occurring decline in cognitive abilities during aging can at least in part be explained by a deterioration of neuronal plasticity or by cellular modifications that impact plasticity. These age-related neurological changes are mostly subtle compared with the alterations that are observed in age-associated disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, where neuronal loss in various brain regions is a pathological hallmark. For instance, degeneration of hippocampal neurons has been associated with memory impairment in Alzheimer’s disease patients, whereas neuronal loss in the substantia nigra is thought to be responsible for motor dysfunction observed in Parkinson’s disease.

Mechanisms and molecules involved in neuronal plasticity occurring during development, regeneration or aging are largely overlapping. Developing and refining in vitro assays to study these processes is crucial to improve the understanding of neuronal plasticity and thus is an integral part for the development of therapies for neurodegenerative diseases.

Please find here details about cell culture models to support your research about:

animal models

Scantox is highly experienced in generating, characterizing, and maintaining transgenic disease models and using them for drug testing projects for more than 20 years.

behavioral testing

Scantox provides a wide range of behavioral tests for various indications. Most tests are evaluated using rater-independent digital animal tracking systems.

histology services

Scantox offers a full set of histology services ranging from collection of tissue samples to delivering study reports that contain all experimental procedures and their outcome.


Scantox Department of Translational Medicine offers a selection of molecular biological methods for the investigation of various diseases. The unit supports in vitro and in vivo studies performed at Scantox.