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Sample records for functional brain plasticity

  1. Strengthening connections: functional connectivity and brain plasticity

    PubMed Central

    Kelly, Clare; Castellanos, F. Xavier

    2014-01-01

    The ascendancy of functional neuroimaging has facilitated the addition of network-based approaches to the neuropsychologist’s toolbox for evaluating the sequelae of brain insult. In particular, intrinsic functional connectivity (iFC) mapping of resting state fMRI (R-fMRI) data constitutes an ideal approach to measuring macro-scale networks in the human brain. Beyond the value of iFC mapping for charting how the functional topography of the brain is altered by insult and injury, iFC analyses can provide insights into effects of experience-dependent plasticity at the macro level of large-scale functional networks. Such insights are foundational to the design of training and remediation interventions that will best facilitate recovery of function. In this review, we consider what is currently known about the origin and function of iFC in the brain, and how this knowledge is informative in neuropsychological settings. We then summarize studies that have examined experience-driven plasticity of iFC in healthy control participants, and frame these findings in terms of a schema that may aid in the interpretation of results and the generation of hypothesis for rehabilitative studies. Finally, we outline some caveats to the R-fMRI approach, as well as some current developments that are likely to bolster the utility of the iFC paradigm for neuropsychology. PMID:24496903

  2. Structural and Functional Plasticity in the Maternal Brain Circuitry.

    PubMed

    Pereira, Mariana

    2016-09-01

    Parenting recruits a distributed network of brain structures (and neuromodulators) that coordinates caregiving responses attuned to the young's affect, needs, and developmental stage. Many of these structures and connections undergo significant structural and functional plasticity, mediated by the interplay between maternal hormones and social experience while the reciprocal relationship between the mother and her infant forms and develops. These alterations account for the remarkable behavioral plasticity of mothers. This review will examine the molecular and neurobiological modulation and plasticity through which parenting develops and adjusts in new mothers, primarily discussing recent findings in nonhuman animals. A better understanding of how parenting impacts the brain at the molecular, cellular, systems/network, and behavioral levels is likely to significantly contribute to novel strategies for treating postpartum neuropsychiatric disorders in new mothers, and critical for both the mother's physiological and mental health and the development and well-being of her young. PMID:27589496

  3. An Evolutionary Computation Approach to Examine Functional Brain Plasticity.

    PubMed

    Roy, Arnab; Campbell, Colin; Bernier, Rachel A; Hillary, Frank G

    2016-01-01

    One common research goal in systems neurosciences is to understand how the functional relationship between a pair of regions of interest (ROIs) evolves over time. Examining neural connectivity in this way is well-suited for the study of developmental processes, learning, and even in recovery or treatment designs in response to injury. For most fMRI based studies, the strength of the functional relationship between two ROIs is defined as the correlation between the average signal representing each region. The drawback to this approach is that much information is lost due to averaging heterogeneous voxels, and therefore, the functional relationship between a ROI-pair that evolve at a spatial scale much finer than the ROIs remain undetected. To address this shortcoming, we introduce a novel evolutionary computation (EC) based voxel-level procedure to examine functional plasticity between an investigator defined ROI-pair by simultaneously using subject-specific BOLD-fMRI data collected from two sessions seperated by finite duration of time. This data-driven procedure detects a sub-region composed of spatially connected voxels from each ROI (a so-called sub-regional-pair) such that the pair shows a significant gain/loss of functional relationship strength across the two time points. The procedure is recursive and iteratively finds all statistically significant sub-regional-pairs within the ROIs. Using this approach, we examine functional plasticity between the default mode network (DMN) and the executive control network (ECN) during recovery from traumatic brain injury (TBI); the study includes 14 TBI and 12 healthy control subjects. We demonstrate that the EC based procedure is able to detect functional plasticity where a traditional averaging based approach fails. The subject-specific plasticity estimates obtained using the EC-procedure are highly consistent across multiple runs. Group-level analyses using these plasticity estimates showed an increase in the strength

  4. An Evolutionary Computation Approach to Examine Functional Brain Plasticity

    PubMed Central

    Roy, Arnab; Campbell, Colin; Bernier, Rachel A.; Hillary, Frank G.

    2016-01-01

    One common research goal in systems neurosciences is to understand how the functional relationship between a pair of regions of interest (ROIs) evolves over time. Examining neural connectivity in this way is well-suited for the study of developmental processes, learning, and even in recovery or treatment designs in response to injury. For most fMRI based studies, the strength of the functional relationship between two ROIs is defined as the correlation between the average signal representing each region. The drawback to this approach is that much information is lost due to averaging heterogeneous voxels, and therefore, the functional relationship between a ROI-pair that evolve at a spatial scale much finer than the ROIs remain undetected. To address this shortcoming, we introduce a novel evolutionary computation (EC) based voxel-level procedure to examine functional plasticity between an investigator defined ROI-pair by simultaneously using subject-specific BOLD-fMRI data collected from two sessions seperated by finite duration of time. This data-driven procedure detects a sub-region composed of spatially connected voxels from each ROI (a so-called sub-regional-pair) such that the pair shows a significant gain/loss of functional relationship strength across the two time points. The procedure is recursive and iteratively finds all statistically significant sub-regional-pairs within the ROIs. Using this approach, we examine functional plasticity between the default mode network (DMN) and the executive control network (ECN) during recovery from traumatic brain injury (TBI); the study includes 14 TBI and 12 healthy control subjects. We demonstrate that the EC based procedure is able to detect functional plasticity where a traditional averaging based approach fails. The subject-specific plasticity estimates obtained using the EC-procedure are highly consistent across multiple runs. Group-level analyses using these plasticity estimates showed an increase in the strength

  5. Local inhibitory plasticity tunes macroscopic brain dynamics and allows the emergence of functional brain networks.

    PubMed

    Hellyer, Peter J; Jachs, Barbara; Clopath, Claudia; Leech, Robert

    2016-01-01

    Rich, spontaneous brain activity has been observed across a range of different temporal and spatial scales. These dynamics are thought to be important for efficient neural functioning. A range of experimental evidence suggests that these neural dynamics are maintained across a variety of different cognitive states, in response to alterations of the environment and to changes in brain configuration (e.g., across individuals, development and in many neurological disorders). This suggests that the brain has evolved mechanisms to maintain rich dynamics across a broad range of situations. Several mechanisms based around homeostatic plasticity have been proposed to explain how these dynamics emerge from networks of neurons at the microscopic scale. Here we explore how a homeostatic mechanism may operate at the macroscopic scale: in particular, focusing on how it interacts with the underlying structural network topology and how it gives rise to well-described functional connectivity networks. We use a simple mean-field model of the brain, constrained by empirical white matter structural connectivity where each region of the brain is simulated using a pool of excitatory and inhibitory neurons. We show, as with the microscopic work, that homeostatic plasticity regulates network activity and allows for the emergence of rich, spontaneous dynamics across a range of brain configurations, which otherwise show a very limited range of dynamic regimes. In addition, the simulated functional connectivity of the homeostatic model better resembles empirical functional connectivity network. To accomplish this, we show how the inhibitory weights adapt over time to capture important graph theoretic properties of the underlying structural network. Therefore, this work presents suggests how inhibitory homeostatic mechanisms facilitate stable macroscopic dynamics to emerge in the brain, aiding the formation of functional connectivity networks. PMID:26348562

  6. The Current Status of Somatostatin-Interneurons in Inhibitory Control of Brain Function and Plasticity

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    The mammalian neocortex contains many distinct inhibitory neuronal populations to balance excitatory neurotransmission. A correct excitation/inhibition equilibrium is crucial for normal brain development, functioning, and controlling lifelong cortical plasticity. Knowledge about how the inhibitory network contributes to brain plasticity however remains incomplete. Somatostatin- (SST-) interneurons constitute a large neocortical subpopulation of interneurons, next to parvalbumin- (PV-) and vasoactive intestinal peptide- (VIP-) interneurons. Unlike the extensively studied PV-interneurons, acknowledged as key components in guiding ocular dominance plasticity, the contribution of SST-interneurons is less understood. Nevertheless, SST-interneurons are ideally situated within cortical networks to integrate unimodal or cross-modal sensory information processing and therefore likely to be important mediators of experience-dependent plasticity. The lack of knowledge on SST-interneurons partially relates to the wide variety of distinct subpopulations present in the sensory neocortex. This review informs on those SST-subpopulations hitherto described based on anatomical, molecular, or electrophysiological characteristics and whose functional roles can be attributed based on specific cortical wiring patterns. A possible role for these subpopulations in experience-dependent plasticity will be discussed, emphasizing on learning-induced plasticity and on unimodal and cross-modal plasticity upon sensory loss. This knowledge will ultimately contribute to guide brain plasticity into well-defined directions to restore sensory function and promote lifelong learning. PMID:27403348

  7. The Current Status of Somatostatin-Interneurons in Inhibitory Control of Brain Function and Plasticity.

    PubMed

    Scheyltjens, Isabelle; Arckens, Lutgarde

    2016-01-01

    The mammalian neocortex contains many distinct inhibitory neuronal populations to balance excitatory neurotransmission. A correct excitation/inhibition equilibrium is crucial for normal brain development, functioning, and controlling lifelong cortical plasticity. Knowledge about how the inhibitory network contributes to brain plasticity however remains incomplete. Somatostatin- (SST-) interneurons constitute a large neocortical subpopulation of interneurons, next to parvalbumin- (PV-) and vasoactive intestinal peptide- (VIP-) interneurons. Unlike the extensively studied PV-interneurons, acknowledged as key components in guiding ocular dominance plasticity, the contribution of SST-interneurons is less understood. Nevertheless, SST-interneurons are ideally situated within cortical networks to integrate unimodal or cross-modal sensory information processing and therefore likely to be important mediators of experience-dependent plasticity. The lack of knowledge on SST-interneurons partially relates to the wide variety of distinct subpopulations present in the sensory neocortex. This review informs on those SST-subpopulations hitherto described based on anatomical, molecular, or electrophysiological characteristics and whose functional roles can be attributed based on specific cortical wiring patterns. A possible role for these subpopulations in experience-dependent plasticity will be discussed, emphasizing on learning-induced plasticity and on unimodal and cross-modal plasticity upon sensory loss. This knowledge will ultimately contribute to guide brain plasticity into well-defined directions to restore sensory function and promote lifelong learning. PMID:27403348

  8. Imaging brain plasticity after trauma

    PubMed Central

    Kou, Zhifeng; Iraji, Armin

    2014-01-01

    The brain is highly plastic after stroke or epilepsy; however, there is a paucity of brain plasticity investigation after traumatic brain injury (TBI). This mini review summarizes the most recent evidence of brain plasticity in human TBI patients from the perspective of advanced magnetic resonance imaging. Similar to other forms of acquired brain injury, TBI patients also demonstrated both structural reorganization as well as functional compensation by the recruitment of other brain regions. However, the large scale brain network alterations after TBI are still unknown, and the field is still short of proper means on how to guide the choice of TBI rehabilitation or treatment plan to promote brain plasticity. The authors also point out the new direction of brain plasticity investigation. PMID:25206874

  9. Music drives brain plasticity

    PubMed Central

    2009-01-01

    Music is becoming more and more of an issue in the cognitive neurosciences. A major finding in this research area is that musical practice is associated with structural and functional plasticity of the brain. In this brief review, I will give an overview of the most recent findings of this research area. PMID:20948610

  10. Brain plasticity and functionality explored by nonlinear optical microscopy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sacconi, L.; Allegra, L.; Buffelli, M.; Cesare, P.; D'Angelo, E.; Gandolfi, D.; Grasselli, G.; Lotti, J.; Mapelli, J.; Strata, P.; Pavone, F. S.

    2010-02-01

    In combination with fluorescent protein (XFP) expression techniques, two-photon microscopy has become an indispensable tool to image cortical plasticity in living mice. In parallel to its application in imaging, multi-photon absorption has also been used as a tool for the dissection of single neurites with submicrometric precision without causing any visible collateral damage to the surrounding neuronal structures. In this work, multi-photon nanosurgery is applied to dissect single climbing fibers expressing GFP in the cerebellar cortex. The morphological consequences are then characterized with time lapse 3-dimensional two-photon imaging over a period of minutes to days after the procedure. Preliminary investigations show that the laser induced fiber dissection recalls a regenerative process in the fiber itself over a period of days. These results show the possibility of this innovative technique to investigate regenerative processes in adult brain. In parallel with imaging and manipulation technique, non-linear microscopy offers the opportunity to optically record electrical activity in intact neuronal networks. In this work, we combined the advantages of second-harmonic generation (SHG) with a random access (RA) excitation scheme to realize a new microscope (RASH) capable of optically recording fast membrane potential events occurring in a wide-field of view. The RASH microscope, in combination with bulk loading of tissue with FM4-64 dye, was used to simultaneously record electrical activity from clusters of Purkinje cells in acute cerebellar slices. Complex spikes, both synchronous and asynchronous, were optically recorded simultaneously across a given population of neurons. Spontaneous electrical activity was also monitored simultaneously in pairs of neurons, where action potentials were recorded without averaging across trials. These results show the strength of this technique in describing the temporal dynamics of neuronal assemblies, opening promising

  11. Brain plasticity as a basis for recovery of function in humans.

    PubMed

    Bach-y-Rita, P

    1990-01-01

    One of the factors leading to the virtual neglect of the long-term potential for functional recovery following brain damage was the eclipse of plasticity concepts during the 100 years following Broca's 1861 publication on location of function. However, in the last 30 years evidence has been accumulating that demonstrates the plasticity of the brain and thus recovery potential is a subject of practical as well as theoretical interest. "Unmasking" of relatively inactive pathways, the taking over of functional representation by undamaged brain tissue, and neuronal group selection are among the mechanisms that are being explored. Human models of recovery of function include hemispherectomy patients that have regained bilateral function, facial paralysis patients who recover function (with appropriate rehabilitation) after VII-XII cranial nerve anastomosis, and patients with muscle transpositions to re-establish lost motor functions. The role of early and late rehabilitation, with attention to psychosocial and environmental factors, appears to be critical for recovery. PMID:2395525

  12. Brain plasticity and functional losses in the aged: scientific bases for a novel intervention.

    PubMed

    Mahncke, Henry W; Bronstone, Amy; Merzenich, Michael M

    2006-01-01

    Aging is associated with progressive losses in function across multiple systems, including sensation, cognition, memory, motor control, and affect. The traditional view has been that functional decline in aging is unavoidable because it is a direct consequence of brain machinery wearing down over time. In recent years, an alternative perspective has emerged, which elaborates on this traditional view of age-related functional decline. This new viewpoint--based upon decades of research in neuroscience, experimental psychology, and other related fields--argues that as people age, brain plasticity processes with negative consequences begin to dominate brain functioning. Four core factors--reduced schedules of brain activity, noisy processing, weakened neuromodulatory control, and negative learning--interact to create a self-reinforcing downward spiral of degraded brain function in older adults. This downward spiral might begin from reduced brain activity due to behavioral change, from a loss in brain function driven by aging brain machinery, or more likely from both. In aggregate, these interrelated factors promote plastic changes in the brain that result in age-related functional decline. This new viewpoint on the root causes of functional decline immediately suggests a remedial approach. Studies of adult brain plasticity have shown that substantial improvement in function and/or recovery from losses in sensation, cognition, memory, motor control, and affect should be possible, using appropriately designed behavioral training paradigms. Driving brain plasticity with positive outcomes requires engaging older adults in demanding sensory, cognitive, and motor activities on an intensive basis, in a behavioral context designed to re-engage and strengthen the neuromodulatory systems that control learning in adults, with the goal of increasing the fidelity, reliability, and power of cortical representations. Such a training program would serve a substantial unmet need in

  13. Investigating brain functional evolution and plasticity using microelectrode array technology.

    PubMed

    Napoli, Alessandro; Obeid, Iyad

    2015-10-01

    The aim of this work was to investigate long and short-term plasticity responsible for memory formation in dissociated neuronal networks. In order to address this issue, a set of experiments was designed and implemented in which the microelectrode array electrode grid was divided into four quadrants, two of which were chronically stimulated, every two days for one hour with a stimulation paradigm that varied over time. Overall network and quadrant responses were then analyzed to quantify what level of plasticity took place in the network and how this was due to the stimulation interruption. The results demonstrate that there were no spatial differences in the stimulus-evoked activity within quadrants. Furthermore, the implemented stimulation protocol induced depression effects in the neuronal networks as demonstrated by the consistently lower network activity following stimulation sessions. Finally, the analysis demonstrated that the inhibitory effects of the stimulation decreased over time, thus suggesting a habituation phenomenon. These findings are sufficient to conclude that electrical stimulation is an important tool to interact with dissociated neuronal cultures, but localized stimuli are not enough to drive spatial synaptic potentiation or depression. On the contrary, the ability to modulate synaptic temporal plasticity was a feasible task to achieve by chronic network stimulation. PMID:26476356

  14. Functional Plasticity in Childhood Brain Disorders: When, What, How, and Whom to Assess

    PubMed Central

    Dennis, Maureen; Spiegler, Brenda J.; Simic, Nevena; Sinopoli, Katia J.; Wilkinson, Amy; Yeates, Keith Owen; Taylor, H. Gerry; Bigler, Erin D.; Fletcher, Jack M.

    2014-01-01

    At every point in the lifespan, the brain balances malleable processes representing neural plasticity that promote change with homeostatic processes that promote stability. Whether a child develops typically or with brain injury, his or her neural and behavioral outcome is constructed through transactions between plastic and homeostatic processes and the environment. In clinical research with children in whom the developing brain has been malformed or injured, behavioral outcomes provide an index of the result of plasticity, homeostasis, and environmental transactions. When should we assess outcome in relation to age at brain insult, time since brain insult, and age of the child at testing? What should we measure? Functions involving reacting to the past and predicting the future, as well as social-affective skills, are important. How should we assess outcome? Information from performance variability, direct measures and informants, overt and covert measures, and laboratory and ecological measures should be considered. In whom are we assessing outcome? Assessment should be cognizant of individual differences in gene, socio-economic status (SES), parenting, nutrition, and interpersonal supports, which are moderators that interact with other factors influencing functional outcome. PMID:24821533

  15. Brain-Controlled Neuromuscular Stimulation to Drive Neural Plasticity and Functional Recovery

    PubMed Central

    Ethier, C.; Gallego, J.A.; Miller, L.E.

    2015-01-01

    There is mounting evidence that appropriately timed neuromuscular stimulation can induce neural plasticity and generate functional recovery from motor disorders. This review addresses the idea that coordinating stimulation with a patient’s voluntary effort might further enhance neurorehabilitation. Studies in cell cultures and behaving animals have delineated the rules underlying neural plasticity when single neurons are used as triggers. However, the rules governing more complex stimuli and larger networks are less well understood. We argue that functional recovery might be optimized if stimulation were modulated by a brain machine interface, to matched the details of the patient’s voluntary intent. The potential of this novel approach highlights the need for a better understanding of the complex rules underlying this form of plasticity. PMID:25827275

  16. Brain-controlled neuromuscular stimulation to drive neural plasticity and functional recovery.

    PubMed

    Ethier, C; Gallego, J A; Miller, L E

    2015-08-01

    There is mounting evidence that appropriately timed neuromuscular stimulation can induce neural plasticity and generate functional recovery from motor disorders. This review addresses the idea that coordinating stimulation with a patient's voluntary effort might further enhance neurorehabilitation. Studies in cell cultures and behaving animals have delineated the rules underlying neural plasticity when single neurons are used as triggers. However, the rules governing more complex stimuli and larger networks are less well understood. We argue that functional recovery might be optimized if stimulation were modulated by a brain machine interface, to match the details of the patient's voluntary intent. The potential of this novel approach highlights the need for a better understanding of the complex rules underlying this form of plasticity. PMID:25827275

  17. Functional and Structural Brain Plasticity Enhanced by Motor and Cognitive Rehabilitation in Multiple Sclerosis.

    PubMed

    Prosperini, Luca; Piattella, Maria Cristina; Giannì, Costanza; Pantano, Patrizia

    2015-01-01

    Rehabilitation is recognized to be important in ameliorating motor and cognitive functions, reducing disease burden, and improving quality of life in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). In this systematic review, we summarize the existing evidences that motor and cognitive rehabilitation may enhance functional and structural brain plasticity in patients with MS, as assessed by means of the most advanced neuroimaging techniques, including diffusion tensor imaging and task-related and resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In most cases, the rehabilitation program was based on computer-assisted/video game exercises performed in either an outpatient or home setting. Despite their heterogeneity, all the included studies describe changes in white matter microarchitecture, in task-related activation, and/or in functional connectivity following both task-oriented and selective training. When explored, relevant correlation between improved function and MRI-detected brain changes was often found, supporting the hypothesis that training-induced brain plasticity is specifically linked to the trained domain. Small sample sizes, lack of randomization and/or an active control group, as well as missed relationship between MRI-detected changes and clinical performance, are the major drawbacks of the selected studies. Knowledge gaps in this field of research are also discussed to provide a framework for future investigations. PMID:26064692

  18. Functional and Structural Brain Plasticity Enhanced by Motor and Cognitive Rehabilitation in Multiple Sclerosis

    PubMed Central

    Prosperini, Luca; Piattella, Maria Cristina

    2015-01-01

    Rehabilitation is recognized to be important in ameliorating motor and cognitive functions, reducing disease burden, and improving quality of life in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). In this systematic review, we summarize the existing evidences that motor and cognitive rehabilitation may enhance functional and structural brain plasticity in patients with MS, as assessed by means of the most advanced neuroimaging techniques, including diffusion tensor imaging and task-related and resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In most cases, the rehabilitation program was based on computer-assisted/video game exercises performed in either an outpatient or home setting. Despite their heterogeneity, all the included studies describe changes in white matter microarchitecture, in task-related activation, and/or in functional connectivity following both task-oriented and selective training. When explored, relevant correlation between improved function and MRI-detected brain changes was often found, supporting the hypothesis that training-induced brain plasticity is specifically linked to the trained domain. Small sample sizes, lack of randomization and/or an active control group, as well as missed relationship between MRI-detected changes and clinical performance, are the major drawbacks of the selected studies. Knowledge gaps in this field of research are also discussed to provide a framework for future investigations. PMID:26064692

  19. Differential pattern of functional brain plasticity after compassion and empathy training.

    PubMed

    Klimecki, Olga M; Leiberg, Susanne; Ricard, Matthieu; Singer, Tania

    2014-06-01

    Although empathy is crucial for successful social interactions, excessive sharing of others' negative emotions may be maladaptive and constitute a source of burnout. To investigate functional neural plasticity underlying the augmentation of empathy and to test the counteracting potential of compassion, one group of participants was first trained in empathic resonance and subsequently in compassion. In response to videos depicting human suffering, empathy training, but not memory training (control group), increased negative affect and brain activations in anterior insula and anterior midcingulate cortex-brain regions previously associated with empathy for pain. In contrast, subsequent compassion training could reverse the increase in negative effect and, in contrast, augment self-reports of positive affect. In addition, compassion training increased activations in a non-overlapping brain network spanning ventral striatum, pregenual anterior cingulate cortex and medial orbitofrontal cortex. We conclude that training compassion may reflect a new coping strategy to overcome empathic distress and strengthen resilience. PMID:23576808

  20. The maternal brain under stress: Consequences for adaptive peripartum plasticity and its potential functional implications.

    PubMed

    Slattery, David A; Hillerer, Katharina M

    2016-04-01

    The peripartum period represents a time during which all mammalian species undergo substantial physiological and behavioural changes, which prepare the female for the demands of motherhood. In addition to behavioural and physiological alterations, numerous brain regions, such as the medial prefrontal cortex, olfactory bulb, medial amygdala and hippocampus are subject to substantial peripartum-associated neuronal, dendritic and synaptic plasticity. These changes, which are temporally- and spatially-distinct, are strongly influenced by gonadal and adrenal hormones, such as estrogen and cortisol/corticosterone, which undergo dramatic fluctuations across this period. In this review, we describe our current knowledge regarding these plasticity changes and describe how stress affects such normal adaptations. Finally, we discuss the mechanisms potentially underlying these neuronal, dendritic and synaptic changes and their functional relevance for the mother and her offspring. PMID:26828151

  1. Brain functional plasticity associated with the emergence of expertise in extreme language control.

    PubMed

    Hervais-Adelman, Alexis; Moser-Mercer, Barbara; Golestani, Narly

    2015-07-01

    We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to longitudinally examine brain plasticity arising from long-term, intensive simultaneous interpretation training. Simultaneous interpretation is a bilingual task with heavy executive control demands. We compared brain responses observed during simultaneous interpretation with those observed during simultaneous speech repetition (shadowing) in a group of trainee simultaneous interpreters, at the beginning and at the end of their professional training program. Age, sex and language-proficiency matched controls were scanned at similar intervals. Using multivariate pattern classification, we found distributed patterns of changes in functional responses from the first to second scan that distinguished the interpreters from the controls. We also found reduced recruitment of the right caudate nucleus during simultaneous interpretation as a result of training. Such practice-related change is consistent with decreased demands on multilingual language control as the task becomes more automatized with practice. These results demonstrate the impact of simultaneous interpretation training on the brain functional response in a cerebral structure that is not specifically linguistic, but that is known to be involved in learning, in motor control, and in a variety of domain-general executive functions. Along with results of recent studies showing functional and structural adaptations in the caudate nuclei of experts in a broad range of domains, our results underline the importance of this structure as a central node in expertise-related networks. PMID:25869858

  2. Narrative skill in children with early unilateral brain injury: a possible limit to functional plasticity.

    PubMed

    Demir, Ozlem Ece; Levine, Susan C; Goldin-Meadow, Susan

    2010-07-01

    Children with pre- or perinatal brain injury (PL) exhibit marked plasticity for language learning. Previous work has focused mostly on the emergence of earlier-developing skills, such as vocabulary and syntax. Here we ask whether this plasticity for earlier-developing aspects of language extends to more complex, later-developing language functions by examining the narrative production of children with PL. Using an elicitation technique that involves asking children to create stories de novo in response to a story stem, we collected narratives from 11 children with PL and 20 typically developing (TD) children. Narratives were analysed for length, diversity of the vocabulary used, use of complex syntax, complexity of the macro-level narrative structure and use of narrative evaluation. Children's language performance on vocabulary and syntax tasks outside the narrative context was also measured. Findings show that children with PL produced shorter stories, used less diverse vocabulary, produced structurally less complex stories at the macro-level, and made fewer inferences regarding the cognitive states of the story characters. These differences in the narrative task emerged even though children with PL did not differ from TD children on vocabulary and syntax tasks outside the narrative context. Thus, findings suggest that there may be limitations to the plasticity for language functions displayed by children with PL, and that these limitations may be most apparent in complex, decontextualized language tasks such as narrative production. PMID:20590727

  3. Narrative Skill in Children with Early Unilateral Brain Injury: A Possible Limit to Functional Plasticity

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Demir, Ozlem Ece; Levine, Susan C.; Goldin-Meadow, Susan

    2010-01-01

    Children with pre- or perinatal brain injury (PL) exhibit marked plasticity for language learning. Previous work has focused mostly on the emergence of earlier-developing skills, such as vocabulary and syntax. Here we ask whether this plasticity for earlier-developing aspects of language extends to more complex, later-developing language functions…

  4. Oxytocin and Maternal Brain Plasticity.

    PubMed

    Kim, Sohye; Strathearn, Lane

    2016-09-01

    Although dramatic postnatal changes in maternal behavior have long been noted, we are only now beginning to understand the neurobiological mechanisms that support this transition. The present paper synthesizes growing insights from both animal and human research to provide an overview of the plasticity of the mother's brain, with a particular emphasis on the oxytocin system. We examine plasticity observed within the oxytocin system and discuss how these changes mediate an array of other adaptations observed within the maternal brain. We outline factors that affect the oxytocin-mediated plasticity of the maternal brain and review evidence linking disruptions in oxytocin functions to challenges in maternal adaptation. We conclude by suggesting a strategy for intervention with mothers who may be at risk for maladjustment during this transition to motherhood, while highlighting areas where further research is needed. PMID:27589498

  5. Psychotherapy and brain plasticity

    PubMed Central

    Collerton, Daniel

    2013-01-01

    In this paper, I will review why psychotherapy is relevant to the question of how consciousness relates to brain plasticity. A great deal of the research and theorizing on consciousness and the brain, including my own on hallucinations for example (Collerton and Perry, 2011) has focused upon specific changes in conscious content which can be related to temporal changes in restricted brain systems. I will argue that psychotherapy, in contrast, allows only a focus on holistic aspects of consciousness; an emphasis which may usefully complement what can be learnt from more specific methodologies. PMID:24046752

  6. Gut Microbiota: A Modulator of Brain Plasticity and Cognitive Function in Ageing

    PubMed Central

    Leung, Katherine; Thuret, Sandrine

    2015-01-01

    Gut microbiota have recently been a topic of great interest in the field of microbiology, particularly their role in normal physiology and its influence on human health in disease. A large body of research has supported the presence of a pathway of communication between the gut and the brain, modulated by gut microbiota, giving rise to the term “microbiota-gut-brain” axis. It is now thought that, through this pathway, microbiota can affect behaviour and modulate brain plasticity and cognitive function in ageing. This review summarizes the evidence supporting the existence of such a connection and possible mechanisms of action whereby microbiota can influence the function of the central nervous system. Since normalisation of gut flora has been shown to prevent changes in behaviour, we further postulate on possible therapeutic targets to intervene with cognitive decline in ageing. The research poses various limitations, for example uncertainty about how this data translates to broad human populations. Nonetheless, the microbiota-gut-brain axis is an exciting field worthy of further investigation, particularly with regards to its implications on the ageing population. PMID:27417803

  7. Functional and anatomical basis for brain plasticity in facial palsy rehabilitation using the masseteric nerve.

    PubMed

    Buendia, Javier; Loayza, Francis R; Luis, Elkin O; Celorrio, Marta; Pastor, Maria A; Hontanilla, Bernardo

    2016-03-01

    Several techniques have been described for smile restoration after facial nerve paralysis. When a nerve other than the contralateral facial nerve is used to restore the smile, some controversy appears because of the nonphysiological mechanism of smile recovering. Different authors have reported natural results with the masseter nerve. The physiological pathways which determine whether this is achieved continue to remain unclear. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, brain activation pattern measuring blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) signal during smiling and jaw clenching was recorded in a group of 24 healthy subjects (11 females). Effective connectivity of premotor regions was also compared in both tasks. The brain activation pattern was similar for smile and jaw-clenching tasks. Smile activations showed topographic overlap though more extended for smile than clenching. Gender comparisons during facial movements, according to kinematics and BOLD signal, did not reveal significant differences. Effective connectivity results of psychophysiological interaction (PPI) from the same seeds located in bilateral facial premotor regions showed significant task and gender differences (p < 0.001). The hypothesis of brain plasticity between the facial nerve and masseter nerve areas is supported by the broad cortical overlap in the representation of facial and masseter muscles. PMID:26683008

  8. Plasticity in the Developing Brain: Intellectual, Language and Academic Functions in Children with Ischaemic Perinatal Stroke

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ballantyne, Angela O.; Spilkin, Amy M.; Hesselink, John; Trauner, Doris A.

    2008-01-01

    The developing brain has the capacity for a great deal of plasticity. A number of investigators have demonstrated that intellectual and language skills may be in the normal range in children following unilateral perinatal stroke. Questions have been raised, however, about whether these skills can be maintained at the same level as the brain…

  9. Brain Plasticity and Behaviour in the Developing Brain

    PubMed Central

    Kolb, Bryan; Gibb, Robbin

    2011-01-01

    Objective: To review general principles of brain development, identify basic principles of brain plasticity, and discuss factors that influence brain development and plasticity. Method: A literature review of relevant English-language manuscripts on brain development and plasticity was conducted. Results: Brain development progresses through a series of stages beginning with neurogenesis and progressing to neural migration, maturation, synaptogenesis, pruning, and myelin formation. Eight basic principles of brain plasticity are identified. Evidence that brain development and function is influenced by different environmental events such as sensory stimuli, psychoactive drugs, gonadal hormones, parental-child relationships, peer relationships, early stress, intestinal flora, and diet. Conclusions: The development of the brain reflects more than the simple unfolding of a genetic blueprint but rather reflects a complex dance of genetic and experiential factors that shape the emerging brain. Understanding the dance provides insight into both normal and abnormal development. PMID:22114608

  10. Using brain-computer interfaces to induce neural plasticity and restore function

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grosse-Wentrup, Moritz; Mattia, Donatella; Oweiss, Karim

    2011-04-01

    Analyzing neural signals and providing feedback in realtime is one of the core characteristics of a brain-computer interface (BCI). As this feature may be employed to induce neural plasticity, utilizing BCI technology for therapeutic purposes is increasingly gaining popularity in the BCI community. In this paper, we discuss the state-of-the-art of research on this topic, address the principles of and challenges in inducing neural plasticity by means of a BCI, and delineate the problems of study design and outcome evaluation arising in this context. We conclude with a list of open questions and recommendations for future research in this field.

  11. Motor Network Plasticity and Low-Frequency Oscillations Abnormalities in Patients with Brain Gliomas: A Functional MRI Study

    PubMed Central

    Niu, Chen; Zhang, Ming; Min, Zhigang; Rana, Netra; Zhang, Qiuli; Liu, Xin; Li, Min; Lin, Pan

    2014-01-01

    Brain plasticity is often associated with the process of slow-growing tumor formation, which remodels neural organization and optimizes brain network function. In this study, we aimed to investigate whether motor function plasticity would display deficits in patients with slow-growing brain tumors located in or near motor areas, but who were without motor neurological deficits. We used resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging to probe motor networks in 15 patients with histopathologically confirmed brain gliomas and 15 age-matched healthy controls. All subjects performed a motor task to help identify individual motor activity in the bilateral primary motor cortex (PMC) and supplementary motor area (SMA). Frequency-based analysis at three different frequencies was then used to investigate possible alterations in the power spectral density (PSD) of low-frequency oscillations. For each group, the average PSD was determined for each brain region and a nonparametric test was performed to determine the difference in power between the two groups. Significantly reduced inter-hemispheric functional connectivity between the left and right PMC was observed in patients compared with controls (P<0.05). We also found significantly decreased PSD in patients compared to that in controls, in all three frequency bands (low: 0.01–0.02 Hz; middle: 0.02–0.06 Hz; and high: 0.06–0.1 Hz), at three key motor regions. These findings suggest that in asymptomatic patients with brain tumors located in eloquent regions, inter-hemispheric connection may be more vulnerable. A comparison of the two approaches indicated that power spectral analysis is more sensitive than functional connectivity analysis for identifying the neurological abnormalities underlying motor function plasticity induced by slow-growing tumors. PMID:24806463

  12. The concept of brain plasticity--Paillard's systemic analysis and emphasis on structure and function (followed by the translation of a seminal paper by Paillard on plasticity).

    PubMed

    Will, Bruno; Dalrymple-Alford, John; Wolff, Mathieu; Cassel, Jean-Christophe

    2008-09-01

    Although rejected for the most part of the 20th Century, the idea of brain plasticity began to receive wide acceptance from the 1970s. Yet there has been relatively little theoretical comment on the definition and use of "plasticity" in the field of neurobiology. An early exception to this lack of critical reflection on neural plasticity was provided by Jacques Paillard in a seminal paper that he published in 1976 [Paillard J. Réflexions sur l'usage du concept de plasticité en neurobiology. J Psychol 1976;1:33-47]. As this valuable contribution was published in French, the present authors provide an English adaptation to help convey his ideas to an international audience, together with a contemporary commentary on this paper. Paillard's definition of the term "plasticity" is probably as pertinent today as it was 30 years ago, especially in terms of its relevance to multiple levels of analysis of brain function (molecular, cellular, systemic). Sadly, Jacques Paillard died in 2006; our comments therefore also include a brief biographical tribute to this outstanding neuroscientist. PMID:18222008

  13. Indices of adrenal deficiency involved in brain plasticity and functional control reorganization in hemodialysis patients with polysulfone membrane: BOLD-fMRI study.

    PubMed

    Belaïch, Rachida; Boujraf, Saïd; Benzagmout, Mohammed; Maaroufi, Mustapha; Housni, Abdelkhalek; Batta, Fatima; Tizniti, Siham; Magoul, Rabia; Sqalli, Tarik

    2016-06-01

    This work purpose was to estimate the implication of suspected adrenal function deficiencies, which was influenced by oxidative stress (OS) that are generating brain plasticity, and reorganization of the functional control. This phenomenon was revealed in two-hemodialysis patients described in this paper. Blood oxygenation level dependent functional magnetic resonance imaging (BOLD-fMRI) revealed a significant activation of the motor cortex. Hemodialysis seems to originate an inflammatory state of the cerebral tissue reflected by increased OS, while expected to decrease since hemodialysis eliminates free radicals responsible for OS. Considering adrenal function deficiencies, sensitivity to OS and assessed hyponatremia and hypercalcemia, adrenal function deficiencies is strongly suspected in both patients. This probably contributes to amplify brain plasticity and a reorganization of functional control after hemodialysis that is compared to earlier reported studies. Brain plasticity and functional control reorganization was revealed by BOLD-fMRI with a remarkable sensitivity. Brain plastic changes are originated by elevated OS associating indices of adrenal function deficiencies. These results raise important issues about adrenal functional deficiencies impact on brain plasticity in chronic hemodialysis-patients. This motivates more global studies of plasticity induced factors in this category of patients including adrenal functional deficiencies and OS. PMID:27301905

  14. [Brain development and plasticity].

    PubMed

    Martinez-Morga, M; Martinez, S

    2016-01-01

    Neurodevelopmental disorders are associated to functional anomalies of the brain that become manifest early on in life. Traditionally, they have been related almost exclusively to the appearance of intellectual disability and delayed psychomotor development. The causes of these disorders have been partially described, and include anomalies due to genetic causes (Down syndrome, fragile X syndrome, etc.), exposure to toxic factors during pregnancy (foetal alcohol syndrome), infections (cytomegalovirus, toxoplasmosis, etc.) or other alterations, including a status of great immaturity at birth (very preterm). Epidemiological data based on a better knowledge of the diseases affecting the central nervous system suggest that some mental disorders, which appear in adolescence or early adulthood, also have their origin in anomalies in brain development. This review aims to offer an overview of brain development. Some of the cellular and molecular processes that may account for the similarities and differences in the phenotypes that generate alterations affecting normal development are also analysed. The study is conducted with a view to clearly identifying processes that are susceptible to modification by means of therapeutic intervention consisting in an early care programme. PMID:26922956

  15. Stress- and Allostasis-Induced Brain Plasticity

    PubMed Central

    McEwen, Bruce S.; Gianaros, Peter J.

    2014-01-01

    The brain is the key organ of stress processes. It determines what individuals will experience as stressful, it orchestrates how individuals will cope with stressful experiences, and it changes both functionally and structurally as a result of stressful experiences. Within the brain, a distributed, dynamic, and plastic neural circuitry coordinates, monitors, and calibrates behavioral and physiological stress response systems to meet the demands imposed by particular stressors. These allodynamic processes can be adaptive in the short term (allostasis) and maladaptive in the long term (allostatic load). Critically, these processes involve bidirectional signaling between the brain and body. Consequently, allostasis and allostatic load can jointly affect vulnerability to brain-dependent and stress-related mental and physical health conditions. This review focuses on the role of brain plasticity in adaptation to, and pathophysiology resulting from, stressful experiences. It also considers interventions to prevent and treat chronic and prevalent health conditions via allodynamic brain mechanisms. PMID:20707675

  16. Augmentation-related brain plasticity.

    PubMed

    Di Pino, Giovanni; Maravita, Angelo; Zollo, Loredana; Guglielmelli, Eugenio; Di Lazzaro, Vincenzo

    2014-01-01

    Today, the anthropomorphism of the tools and the development of neural interfaces require reconsidering the concept of human-tools interaction in the framework of human augmentation. This review analyses the plastic process that the brain undergoes when it comes into contact with augmenting artificial sensors and effectors and, on the other hand, the changes that the use of external augmenting devices produces in the brain. Hitherto, few studies investigated the neural correlates of augmentation, but clues on it can be borrowed from logically-related paradigms: sensorimotor training, cognitive enhancement, cross-modal plasticity, sensorimotor functional substitution, use and embodiment of tools. Augmentation modifies function and structure of a number of areas, i.e., primary sensory cortices shape their receptive fields to become sensitive to novel inputs. Motor areas adapt the neuroprosthesis representation firing-rate to refine kinematics. As for normal motor outputs, the learning process recruits motor and premotor cortices and the acquisition of proficiency decreases attentional recruitment, focuses the activity on sensorimotor areas and increases the basal ganglia drive on the cortex. Augmentation deeply relies on the frontoparietal network. In particular, premotor cortex is involved in learning the control of an external effector and owns the tool motor representation, while the intraparietal sulcus extracts its visual features. In these areas, multisensory integration neurons enlarge their receptive fields to embody supernumerary limbs. For operating an anthropomorphic neuroprosthesis, the mirror system is required to understand the meaning of the action, the cerebellum for the formation of its internal model and the insula for its interoception. In conclusion, anthropomorphic sensorized devices can provide the critical sensory afferences to evolve the exploitation of tools through their embodiment, reshaping the body representation and the sense of the self

  17. Augmentation-related brain plasticity

    PubMed Central

    Di Pino, Giovanni; Maravita, Angelo; Zollo, Loredana; Guglielmelli, Eugenio; Di Lazzaro, Vincenzo

    2014-01-01

    Today, the anthropomorphism of the tools and the development of neural interfaces require reconsidering the concept of human-tools interaction in the framework of human augmentation. This review analyses the plastic process that the brain undergoes when it comes into contact with augmenting artificial sensors and effectors and, on the other hand, the changes that the use of external augmenting devices produces in the brain. Hitherto, few studies investigated the neural correlates of augmentation, but clues on it can be borrowed from logically-related paradigms: sensorimotor training, cognitive enhancement, cross-modal plasticity, sensorimotor functional substitution, use and embodiment of tools. Augmentation modifies function and structure of a number of areas, i.e., primary sensory cortices shape their receptive fields to become sensitive to novel inputs. Motor areas adapt the neuroprosthesis representation firing-rate to refine kinematics. As for normal motor outputs, the learning process recruits motor and premotor cortices and the acquisition of proficiency decreases attentional recruitment, focuses the activity on sensorimotor areas and increases the basal ganglia drive on the cortex. Augmentation deeply relies on the frontoparietal network. In particular, premotor cortex is involved in learning the control of an external effector and owns the tool motor representation, while the intraparietal sulcus extracts its visual features. In these areas, multisensory integration neurons enlarge their receptive fields to embody supernumerary limbs. For operating an anthropomorphic neuroprosthesis, the mirror system is required to understand the meaning of the action, the cerebellum for the formation of its internal model and the insula for its interoception. In conclusion, anthropomorphic sensorized devices can provide the critical sensory afferences to evolve the exploitation of tools through their embodiment, reshaping the body representation and the sense of the self

  18. Evidence for potentials and limitations of brain plasticity using an atlas of functional resectability of WHO grade II gliomas: towards a "minimal common brain".

    PubMed

    Ius, Tamara; Angelini, Elsa; Thiebaut de Schotten, Michel; Mandonnet, Emmanuel; Duffau, Hugues

    2011-06-01

    Despite recent advances in non-invasive brain mapping imaging, the resectability of a given area in a patient harboring a WHO grade II glioma cannot be predicted preoperatively with high reliability, due to mechanisms of functional reorganization. Therefore, intraoperative mapping by direct electrical stimulation remains the gold standard for detection and preservation of eloquent areas during glioma surgery, because it enables to perform on-line anatomo-functional correlations. To study potentials and limitations of brain plasticity, we gathered 58 postoperative MRI of patients operated on for a WHO grade II glioma under direct electrical cortico-subcortical stimulation. Postoperative images were registered on the MNI template to construct an atlas of functional resectability for which each voxel represents the probability to observe residual non-resectable tumor, that is, non-compensable area. The resulting atlas offers a rigorous framework to identify areas with high plastic potential (i.e. with probabilities of residual tumor close to 0), with low compensatory capabilities (i.e. probabilities of residual tumor close to 1) and with intermediate level of resectability (probability around 0.5). The resulting atlas highlights the utmost importance of preserving a core of connectivity through the main associative pathways, namely, it supports the existence of a "minimal common brain" among patients. PMID:21414413

  19. Neural prostheses and brain plasticity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fallon, James B.; Irvine, Dexter R. F.; Shepherd, Robert K.

    2009-12-01

    The success of modern neural prostheses is dependent on a complex interplay between the devices' hardware and software and the dynamic environment in which the devices operate: the patient's body or 'wetware'. Over 120 000 severe/profoundly deaf individuals presently receive information enabling auditory awareness and speech perception from cochlear implants. The cochlear implant therefore provides a useful case study for a review of the complex interactions between hardware, software and wetware, and of the important role of the dynamic nature of wetware. In the case of neural prostheses, the most critical component of that wetware is the central nervous system. This paper will examine the evidence of changes in the central auditory system that contribute to changes in performance with a cochlear implant, and discuss how these changes relate to electrophysiological and functional imaging studies in humans. The relationship between the human data and evidence from animals of the remarkable capacity for plastic change of the central auditory system, even into adulthood, will then be examined. Finally, we will discuss the role of brain plasticity in neural prostheses in general.

  20. Human Maternal Brain Plasticity: Adaptation to Parenting.

    PubMed

    Kim, Pilyoung

    2016-09-01

    New mothers undergo dynamic neural changes that support positive adaptation to parenting and the development of mother-infant relationships. In this article, I review important psychological adaptations that mothers experience during pregnancy and the early postpartum period. I then review evidence of structural and functional plasticity in human mothers' brains, and explore how such plasticity supports mothers' psychological adaptation to parenting and sensitive maternal behaviors. Last, I discuss pregnancy and the early postpartum period as a window of vulnerabilities and opportunities when the human maternal brain is influenced by stress and psychopathology, but also receptive to interventions. PMID:27589497

  1. Ben's Plastic Brain

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kaplan, Susan L.

    2010-01-01

    This article shares a story of Ben who as a result of his premature birth, suffered a brain hemorrhage resulting in cerebral palsy, which affected his left side (left hemiparesis) and caused learning disabilities. Despite these challenges, he graduated from college and currently works doing information management for a local biotech start-up…

  2. Plasticity in the developing brain: implications for rehabilitation.

    PubMed

    Johnston, Michael V

    2009-01-01

    Neuronal plasticity allows the central nervous system to learn skills and remember information, to reorganize neuronal networks in response to environmental stimulation, and to recover from brain and spinal cord injuries. Neuronal plasticity is enhanced in the developing brain and it is usually adaptive and beneficial but can also be maladaptive and responsible for neurological disorders in some situations. Basic mechanisms that are involved in plasticity include neurogenesis, programmed cell death, and activity-dependent synaptic plasticity. Repetitive stimulation of synapses can cause long-term potentiation or long-term depression of neurotransmission. These changes are associated with physical changes in dendritic spines and neuronal circuits. Overproduction of synapses during postnatal development in children contributes to enhanced plasticity by providing an excess of synapses that are pruned during early adolescence. Clinical examples of adaptive neuronal plasticity include reorganization of cortical maps of the fingers in response to practice playing a stringed instrument and constraint-induced movement therapy to improve hemiparesis caused by stroke or cerebral palsy. These forms of plasticity are associated with structural and functional changes in the brain that can be detected with magnetic resonance imaging, positron emission tomography, or transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). TMS and other forms of brain stimulation are also being used experimentally to enhance brain plasticity and recovery of function. Plasticity is also influenced by genetic factors such as mutations in brain-derived neuronal growth factor. Understanding brain plasticity provides a basis for developing better therapies to improve outcome from acquired brain injuries. PMID:19489084

  3. Structural Plasticity and Hippocampal Function

    PubMed Central

    Leuner, Benedetta; Gould, Elizabeth

    2010-01-01

    The hippocampus is a region of the mammalian brain that shows an impressive capacity for structural reorganization. Preexisting neural circuits undergo modifications in dendritic complexity and synapse number, and entirely novel neural connections are formed through the process of neurogenesis. These types of structural change were once thought to be restricted to development. However, it is now generally accepted that the hippocampus remains structurally plastic throughout life. This article reviews structural plasticity in the hippocampus over the lifespan, including how it is investigated experimentally. The modulation of structural plasticity by various experiential factors as well as the possible role it may have in hippocampal functions such as learning and memory, anxiety, and stress regulation are also considered. Although significant progress has been made in many of these areas, we highlight some of the outstanding issues that remain. PMID:19575621

  4. Brain plasticity-based therapeutics

    PubMed Central

    Merzenich, Michael M.; Van Vleet, Thomas M.; Nahum, Mor

    2014-01-01

    The primary objective of this review article is to summarize how the neuroscience of brain plasticity, exploiting new findings in fundamental, integrative and cognitive neuroscience, is changing the therapeutic landscape for professional communities addressing brain-based disorders and disease. After considering the neurological bases of training-driven neuroplasticity, we shall describe how this neuroscience-guided perspective distinguishes this new approach from (a) the more-behavioral, traditional clinical strategies of professional therapy practitioners, and (b) an even more widely applied pharmaceutical treatment model for neurological and psychiatric treatment domains. With that background, we shall argue that neuroplasticity-based treatments will be an important part of future best-treatment practices in neurological and psychiatric medicine. PMID:25018719

  5. Brain plasticity-based therapeutics.

    PubMed

    Merzenich, Michael M; Van Vleet, Thomas M; Nahum, Mor

    2014-01-01

    The primary objective of this review article is to summarize how the neuroscience of brain plasticity, exploiting new findings in fundamental, integrative and cognitive neuroscience, is changing the therapeutic landscape for professional communities addressing brain-based disorders and disease. After considering the neurological bases of training-driven neuroplasticity, we shall describe how this neuroscience-guided perspective distinguishes this new approach from (a) the more-behavioral, traditional clinical strategies of professional therapy practitioners, and (b) an even more widely applied pharmaceutical treatment model for neurological and psychiatric treatment domains. With that background, we shall argue that neuroplasticity-based treatments will be an important part of future best-treatment practices in neurological and psychiatric medicine. PMID:25018719

  6. Brain plasticity and hand surgery: an overview.

    PubMed

    Lundborg, G

    2000-06-01

    The hand is an extension of the brain, and the hand is projected and represented in large areas of the motor and sensory cortex. The brain is a complicated neural network which continuously remodels itself as a result of changes in sensory input. Such synaptic reorganizational changes may be activity-dependent, based on alterations in hand activity and tactile experience, or a result of deafferentiation such as nerve injury or amputation. Inferior recovery of functional sensibility following nerve repair, as well as phantom experiences in virtual, amputated limbs are phenomena reflecting profound cortical reorganizational changes. Surgical procedures on the hand are always accompanied by synaptic reorganizational changes in the brain cortex, and the outcome from many hand surgical procedures is to a large extent dependent on brain plasticity. PMID:10961548

  7. Neural stem cells and neuro/gliogenesis in the central nervous system: understanding the structural and functional plasticity of the developing, mature, and diseased brain.

    PubMed

    Yamaguchi, Masahiro; Seki, Tatsunori; Imayoshi, Itaru; Tamamaki, Nobuaki; Hayashi, Yoshitaka; Tatebayashi, Yoshitaka; Hitoshi, Seiji

    2016-05-01

    Neurons and glia in the central nervous system (CNS) originate from neural stem cells (NSCs). Knowledge of the mechanisms of neuro/gliogenesis from NSCs is fundamental to our understanding of how complex brain architecture and function develop. NSCs are present not only in the developing brain but also in the mature brain in adults. Adult neurogenesis likely provides remarkable plasticity to the mature brain. In addition, recent progress in basic research in mental disorders suggests an etiological link with impaired neuro/gliogenesis in particular brain regions. Here, we review the recent progress and discuss future directions in stem cell and neuro/gliogenesis biology by introducing several topics presented at a joint meeting of the Japanese Association of Anatomists and the Physiological Society of Japan in 2015. Collectively, these topics indicated that neuro/gliogenesis from NSCs is a common event occurring in many brain regions at various ages in animals. Given that significant structural and functional changes in cells and neural networks are accompanied by neuro/gliogenesis from NSCs and the integration of newly generated cells into the network, stem cell and neuro/gliogenesis biology provides a good platform from which to develop an integrated understanding of the structural and functional plasticity that underlies the development of the CNS, its remodeling in adulthood, and the recovery from diseases that affect it. PMID:26578509

  8. Brain plasticity and cognitive functions after ethanol consumption in C57BL/6J mice.

    PubMed

    Stragier, E; Martin, V; Davenas, E; Poilbout, C; Mongeau, R; Corradetti, R; Lanfumey, L

    2015-01-01

    Acute or chronic administrations of high doses of ethanol in mice are known to produce severe cognitive deficits linked to hippocampal damage. However, we recently reported that chronic and moderate ethanol intake in C57BL/6J mice induced chromatin remodeling within the Bdnf promoters, leading to both enhanced brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) expression and hippocampal neurogenesis under free-choice protocol. We performed here a series of cellular and behavioral studies to analyze the consequences of these modifications. We showed that a 3-week chronic free-choice ethanol consumption in C57BL/6J mice led to a decrease in DNA methylation of the Bdnf gene within the CA1 and CA3 subfields of the hippocampus, and upregulated hippocampal BDNF signaling pathways mediated by ERK, AKT and CREB. However, this activation did not affect long-term potentiation in the CA1. Conversely, ethanol intake impaired learning and memory capacities analyzed in the contextual fear conditioning test and the novel object recognition task. In addition, ethanol increased behavioral perseveration in the Barnes maze test but did not alter the mouse overall spatial capacities. These data suggested that in conditions of chronic and moderate ethanol intake, the chromatin remodeling leading to BDNF signaling upregulation is probably an adaptive process, engaged via epigenetic regulations, to counteract the cognitive deficits induced by ethanol. PMID:26670281

  9. Evolutionary Perspectives on Language and Brain Plasticity.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Deacon, Terrence W.

    2000-01-01

    This review discusses how general principles of brain development have contributed to both human brain plasticity and the acquisition of the human capacity for speech. Specifically, the role played by plastic developmental processes in the evolution and development of articulate control over vocalization in speech is examined. (Contains…

  10. Bridging from Cells to Cognition in Autism Pathophysiology: Biological Pathways to Defective Brain Function and Plasticity

    SciTech Connect

    Anderson, Matthew; Hooker, Brian S.; Herbert, Martha

    2008-01-01

    We review evidence to support the model that autism may begin when a maternal environmental, infectious, or autoantibody insult causes inflammation which increases reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in the fetus, leading to fetal DNA damage (nuclear and mitochondrial), and that these inflammatory and oxidative stressors persist beyond early development (with potential further exacerbations), producing ongoing functional consequences. In organs with a high metabolic demand such as the central nervous system, the continued use of mitochondria with DNA damage may generate additional ROS which will activate the innate immune system leading to more ROS production. Such a mechanism would self-sustain and possibly progressively worsen. The mitochondrial dysfunction and altered redox signal transduction pathways found in autism would conspire to activate both astroglia and microglia. These activated cells can then initiate a broad-spectrum proinflammatory gene response. Neurons may have acquired receptors for these inflammatory signals to inhibit neuronal signaling as a protection from excitotoxic damage during various pathologic insults (e.g., infection). In autism, over-zealous neuroinflammatory responses could not only influence neural developmental processes, but may more significantly impair neural signaling involved in cognition in an ongoing fashion. This model makes specific predictions in patients and experimental animal models and suggests a number of targets sites of intervention. Our model of potentially reversible pathophysiological mechanisms in autism motivates our hope that effective therapies may soon appear on the horizon.

  11. Hearing colors: an example of brain plasticity.

    PubMed

    Alfaro, Arantxa; Bernabeu, Ángela; Agulló, Carlos; Parra, Jaime; Fernández, Eduardo

    2015-01-01

    Sensory substitution devices (SSDs) are providing new ways for improving or replacing sensory abilities that have been lost due to disease or injury, and at the same time offer unprecedented opportunities to address how the nervous system could lead to an augmentation of its capacities. In this work we have evaluated a color-blind subject using a new visual-to-auditory SSD device called "Eyeborg", that allows colors to be perceived as sounds. We used a combination of neuroimaging techniques including Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) and proton Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy ((1)H-MRS) to study potential brain plasticity in this subject. Our results suggest that after 8 years of continuous use of this device there could be significant adaptive and compensatory changes within the brain. In particular, we found changes in functional neural patterns, structural connectivity and cortical topography at the visual and auditive cortex of the Eyeborg user in comparison with a control population. Although at the moment we cannot claim that the continuous use of the Eyeborg is the only reason for these findings, our results may shed further light on potential brain changes associated with the use of other SSDs. This could help to better understand how the brain adapts to several pathologies and uncover adaptive resources such as cross-modal representations. We expect that the precise understanding of these changes will have clear implications for rehabilitative training, device development and for more efficient programs for people with disabilities. PMID:25926778

  12. Physical activity and brain plasticity in late adulthood.

    PubMed

    Erickson, Kirk I; Gildengers, Ariel G; Butters, Meryl A

    2013-03-01

    The human brain shrinks with advancing age, but recent research suggests that it is also capable of remarkable plasticity, even in late life. In this review we summarize the research linking greater amounts of physical activity to less cortical atrophy, better brain function, and enhanced cognitive function, and argue that physical activity takes advantage of the brain's natural capacity for plasticity. Further, although the effects of physical activity on the brain are relatively widespread, there is also some specificity, such that prefrontal and hippocampal areas appear to be more influenced than other areas of the brain. The specificity of these effects, we argue, provides a biological basis for understanding the capacity for physical activity to influence neurocognitive and neuropsychiatric disorders such as depression. We conclude that physical activity is a promising intervention that can influence the endogenous pharmacology of the brain to enhance cognitive and emotional function in late adulthood. PMID:23576893

  13. Erythropoietin Restores Long-Term Neurocognitive Function Involving Mechanisms of Neuronal Plasticity in a Model of Hyperoxia-Induced Preterm Brain Injury

    PubMed Central

    Sifringer, Marco; van de Looij, Yohan; Herz, Josephine; Sizonenko, Stéphane V.; Kempe, Karina; Palasz, Joanna; Hadamitzky, Martin; Fandrey, Joachim

    2016-01-01

    Cerebral white and grey matter injury is the leading cause of an adverse neurodevelopmental outcome in prematurely born infants. High oxygen concentrations have been shown to contribute to the pathogenesis of neonatal brain damage. Here, we focused on motor-cognitive outcome up to the adolescent and adult age in an experimental model of preterm brain injury. In search of the putative mechanisms of action we evaluated oligodendrocyte degeneration, myelination, and modulation of synaptic plasticity-related molecules. A single dose of erythropoietin (20,000 IU/kg) at the onset of hyperoxia (24 hours, 80% oxygen) in 6-day-old Wistar rats improved long-lasting neurocognitive development up to the adolescent and adult stage. Analysis of white matter structures revealed a reduction of acute oligodendrocyte degeneration. However, erythropoietin did not influence hypomyelination occurring a few days after injury or long-term microstructural white matter abnormalities detected in adult animals. Erythropoietin administration reverted hyperoxia-induced reduction of neuronal plasticity-related mRNA expression up to four months after injury. Thus, our findings highlight the importance of erythropoietin as a neuroregenerative treatment option in neonatal brain injury, leading to improved memory function in adolescent and adult rats which may be linked to increased neuronal network connectivity. PMID:27493706

  14. Erythropoietin Restores Long-Term Neurocognitive Function Involving Mechanisms of Neuronal Plasticity in a Model of Hyperoxia-Induced Preterm Brain Injury.

    PubMed

    Hoeber, Daniela; Sifringer, Marco; van de Looij, Yohan; Herz, Josephine; Sizonenko, Stéphane V; Kempe, Karina; Serdar, Meray; Palasz, Joanna; Hadamitzky, Martin; Endesfelder, Stefanie; Fandrey, Joachim; Felderhoff-Müser, Ursula; Bendix, Ivo

    2016-01-01

    Cerebral white and grey matter injury is the leading cause of an adverse neurodevelopmental outcome in prematurely born infants. High oxygen concentrations have been shown to contribute to the pathogenesis of neonatal brain damage. Here, we focused on motor-cognitive outcome up to the adolescent and adult age in an experimental model of preterm brain injury. In search of the putative mechanisms of action we evaluated oligodendrocyte degeneration, myelination, and modulation of synaptic plasticity-related molecules. A single dose of erythropoietin (20,000 IU/kg) at the onset of hyperoxia (24 hours, 80% oxygen) in 6-day-old Wistar rats improved long-lasting neurocognitive development up to the adolescent and adult stage. Analysis of white matter structures revealed a reduction of acute oligodendrocyte degeneration. However, erythropoietin did not influence hypomyelination occurring a few days after injury or long-term microstructural white matter abnormalities detected in adult animals. Erythropoietin administration reverted hyperoxia-induced reduction of neuronal plasticity-related mRNA expression up to four months after injury. Thus, our findings highlight the importance of erythropoietin as a neuroregenerative treatment option in neonatal brain injury, leading to improved memory function in adolescent and adult rats which may be linked to increased neuronal network connectivity. PMID:27493706

  15. Hearing colors: an example of brain plasticity

    PubMed Central

    Alfaro, Arantxa; Bernabeu, Ángela; Agulló, Carlos; Parra, Jaime; Fernández, Eduardo

    2015-01-01

    Sensory substitution devices (SSDs) are providing new ways for improving or replacing sensory abilities that have been lost due to disease or injury, and at the same time offer unprecedented opportunities to address how the nervous system could lead to an augmentation of its capacities. In this work we have evaluated a color-blind subject using a new visual-to-auditory SSD device called “Eyeborg”, that allows colors to be perceived as sounds. We used a combination of neuroimaging techniques including Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) and proton Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (1H-MRS) to study potential brain plasticity in this subject. Our results suggest that after 8 years of continuous use of this device there could be significant adaptive and compensatory changes within the brain. In particular, we found changes in functional neural patterns, structural connectivity and cortical topography at the visual and auditive cortex of the Eyeborg user in comparison with a control population. Although at the moment we cannot claim that the continuous use of the Eyeborg is the only reason for these findings, our results may shed further light on potential brain changes associated with the use of other SSDs. This could help to better understand how the brain adapts to several pathologies and uncover adaptive resources such as cross-modal representations. We expect that the precise understanding of these changes will have clear implications for rehabilitative training, device development and for more efficient programs for people with disabilities. PMID:25926778

  16. The hyaluronan and proteoglycan link proteins: Organizers of the brain extracellular matrix and key molecules for neuronal function and plasticity.

    PubMed

    Oohashi, Toshitaka; Edamatsu, Midori; Bekku, Yoko; Carulli, Daniela

    2015-12-01

    The hyaluronan and proteoglycanbinding link protein (Hapln) is a key molecule in the formation and control of hyaluronan-based condensed perineuronal matrix in the adult brain. This review summarizes the recent advances in understanding the role of Haplns in the formation and control of two distinct types of perineuronal matrices, one for "classical" PNN and the other for the specialized extracellular matrix (ECM) at the node of Ranvier in the central nervous system (CNS). We introduce the structural components of each ECM organization including the basic concept of supramolecular structure named "HLT model". We furthermore summarize the developmental and physiological role of perineuronal ECMs from the studies of Haplns and related molecules. Finally, we also discuss the potential mechanism modulating PNNs in the adult CNS. This layer of organized matrices may exert a direct effect via core protein or sugar moiety from the structure or by acting as a binding site for biologically active molecules, which are important for neuronal plasticity and saltatory conduction. PMID:26387938

  17. Processing demands upon cognitive, linguistic, and articulatory functions promote grey matter plasticity in the adult multilingual brain: Insights from simultaneous interpreters.

    PubMed

    Elmer, Stefan; Hänggi, Jürgen; Jäncke, Lutz

    2014-05-01

    Until now, considerable effort has been made to determine structural brain characteristics related to exceptional multilingual skills. However, at least one important question has not yet been satisfactorily addressed in the previous literature, namely whether and to which extent the processing demands upon cognitive, linguistic, and articulatory functions may promote grey matter plasticity in the adult multilingual brain. Based on the premise that simultaneous interpretation is a highly demanding linguistic task that places strong demands on executive and articulatory functions, here we compared grey matter volumes between professional simultaneous interpreters (SI) and multilingual control subjects. Thereby, we focused on a specific set of a-priori defined bilateral brain regions that have previously been shown to support neurocognitional aspects of language control and linguistic functions in the multilingual brain. These regions are the cingulate gyrus, caudate nucleus, frontal operculum (pars triangularis and opercularis), inferior parietal lobe (IPL) (supramarginal and angular gyrus), and the insula. As a main result, we found reduced grey matter volumes in professional SI, compared to multilingual controls, in the left middle-anterior cingulate gyrus, bilateral pars triangularis, left pars opercularis, bilateral middle part of the insula, and in the left supramarginal gyrus (SMG). Interestingly, grey matter volume in left pars triangularis, right pars opercularis, middle-anterior cingulate gyrus, and in the bilateral caudate nucleus was negatively correlated with the cumulative number of interpreting hours. Hence, we provide first evidence for an expertise-related grey matter architecture that may reflect a composite of brain characteristics that were still present before interpreting training and training-related changes. PMID:24699036

  18. [A study on functional plasticity of the brain in childhood. II. Speech development and intelligence after the damage of cerebral hemisphere under 1 year of age].

    PubMed

    Ichiba, N; Takigawa, H

    1992-11-01

    To investigate the functional plasticity of the brain in childhood, the speech development, the intelligence test and dichotic listening test were performed on 27 patients who had suffered from hemiplegia under 1 year of age. Among 13 patients with right hemiplegia, 7 to 24 years old, 11 patients showed a left ear dominance suggesting the lateralization of language in the right hemisphere. All 14 patients with left hemiplegia, 5 to 37 years old, showed a right ear dominance suggesting the lateralization of language in the left hemisphere. All 27 patients acquired speech function enough to converse with other people during daily life. There were no differences in speech development or intelligence scores between both groups of hemiplegia. Although there was no correlation between the speech development and the age of onset of hemiplegia, there was a correlation between the speech development and the intelligence score in both groups of hemiplegia. PMID:1419166

  19. Environment and brain plasticity: towards an endogenous pharmacotherapy.

    PubMed

    Sale, Alessandro; Berardi, Nicoletta; Maffei, Lamberto

    2014-01-01

    Brain plasticity refers to the remarkable property of cerebral neurons to change their structure and function in response to experience, a fundamental theoretical theme in the field of basic research and a major focus for neural rehabilitation following brain disease. While much of the early work on this topic was based on deprivation approaches relying on sensory experience reduction procedures, major advances have been recently obtained using the conceptually opposite paradigm of environmental enrichment, whereby an enhanced stimulation is provided at multiple cognitive, sensory, social, and motor levels. In this survey, we aim to review past and recent work concerning the influence exerted by the environment on brain plasticity processes, with special emphasis on the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms and starting from experimental work on animal models to move to highly relevant work performed in humans. We will initiate introducing the concept of brain plasticity and describing classic paradigmatic examples to illustrate how changes at the level of neuronal properties can ultimately affect and direct key perceptual and behavioral outputs. Then, we describe the remarkable effects elicited by early stressful conditions, maternal care, and preweaning enrichment on central nervous system development, with a separate section focusing on neurodevelopmental disorders. A specific section is dedicated to the striking ability of environmental enrichment and physical exercise to empower adult brain plasticity. Finally, we analyze in the last section the ever-increasing available knowledge on the effects elicited by enriched living conditions on physiological and pathological aging brain processes. PMID:24382886

  20. Neuronal avalanches and brain plasticity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Arcangelis, L.; Herrmann, H. J.; Perrone-Capano, C.

    2007-12-01

    Networks of living neurons exhibit an avalanche mode of activity, experimentally found in organotypic cultures. Moreover, experimental studies of morphology indicate that neurons develop a network of small-world-like connections, with the possibility of a very high connectivity degree. Here we discuss a recent model based on self-organized criticality, which consists of an electrical network with threshold firing and activity-dependent synapse strengths. The model is implemented on regular and small world lattices and on a scale-free network, the Apollonian network. The system exhibits an avalanche activity with a power law distribution of sizes and durations. The analysis of the power spectra of the electrical signal reproduces very robustly the power law behaviour with the exponent 0.8, experimentally measured in electroencephalogram (EEG) spectra. The exponents are found to be quite stable with respect to initial configurations and strength of plastic remodelling, indicating that universality holds for a wide class of neural network models.

  1. Brain plasticity and motor practice in cognitive aging

    PubMed Central

    Cai, Liuyang; Chan, John S. Y.; Yan, Jin H.; Peng, Kaiping

    2014-01-01

    For more than two decades, there have been extensive studies of experience-based neural plasticity exploring effective applications of brain plasticity for cognitive and motor development. Research suggests that human brains continuously undergo structural reorganization and functional changes in response to stimulations or training. From a developmental point of view, the assumption of lifespan brain plasticity has been extended to older adults in terms of the benefits of cognitive training and physical therapy. To summarize recent developments, first, we introduce the concept of neural plasticity from a developmental perspective. Secondly, we note that motor learning often refers to deliberate practice and the resulting performance enhancement and adaptability. We discuss the close interplay between neural plasticity, motor learning and cognitive aging. Thirdly, we review research on motor skill acquisition in older adults with, and without, impairments relative to aging-related cognitive decline. Finally, to enhance future research and application, we highlight the implications of neural plasticity in skills learning and cognitive rehabilitation for the aging population. PMID:24653695

  2. Construction of efficacious gait and upper limb functional interventions based on brain plasticity evidence and model-based measures for stroke patients.

    PubMed

    Daly, Janis J; Ruff, Robert L

    2007-01-01

    For neurorehabilitation to advance from art to science, it must become evidence-based. Historically, there has been a dearth of evidence from which to construct rehabilitation interventions that are properly framed, accurately targeted, and credibly measured. In many instances, evidence of treatment response has not been sufficiently robust to demonstrate a change in function that is clinically, statistically, and economically important. Research evidence of activity-dependent central nervous system (CNS) plasticity and the requisite motor learning principles can be used to construct an efficacious motor recovery intervention. Brain plasticity after stroke refers to the regeneration of brain neuronal structures and/or reorganization of the function of neurons. Not only can CNS structure and function change in response to injury, but also, the changes may be modified by "activity". For gait training or upper limb functional training for stroke survivors, the "activity" is motor behavior, including coordination and strengthening exercise and functional training that comprise motor learning. Critical principles of motor learning required for CNS activity-dependent plasticity include: close-to-normal movements, muscle activation driving practice of movement; focused attention, repetition of desired movements, and training specificity. The ultimate goal of rehabilitation is to restore function so that a satisfying quality of life can be experienced. Accurate measurement of dysfunction and its underlying impairments are critical to the development of accurately targeted interventions that are sufficiently robust to produce gains, not only in function, but also in quality of life. The Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health Model (ICF) model of disablement, put forth by the World Health Organization, can provide not only some guidance in measurement level selection, but also can serve as a guide to incorporate function and quality of life enhancement as the

  3. Brain imaging and brain function

    SciTech Connect

    Sokoloff, L.

    1985-01-01

    This book is a survey of the applications of imaging studies of regional cerebral blood flow and metabolism to the investigation of neurological and psychiatric disorders. Contributors review imaging techniques and strategies for measuring regional cerebral blood flow and metabolism, for mapping functional neural systems, and for imaging normal brain functions. They then examine the applications of brain imaging techniques to the study of such neurological and psychiatric disorders as: cerebral ischemia; convulsive disorders; cerebral tumors; Huntington's disease; Alzheimer's disease; depression and other mood disorders. A state-of-the-art report on magnetic resonance imaging of the brain and central nervous system rounds out the book's coverage.

  4. In pursuit of resilience: stress, epigenetics, and brain plasticity.

    PubMed

    McEwen, Bruce S

    2016-06-01

    The brain is the central organ for adaptation to experiences, including stressors, which are capable of changing brain architecture as well as altering systemic function through neuroendocrine, autonomic, immune, and metabolic systems. Because the brain is the master regulator of these systems, as well as of behavior, alterations in brain function by chronic stress can have direct and indirect effects on cumulative allostatic overload, which refers to the cost of adaptation. There is much new knowledge on the neural control of systemic physiology and the feedback actions of physiologic mediators on brain regions regulating higher cognitive function, emotional regulation, and self-regulation. The healthy brain has a considerable capacity for resilience, based upon its ability to respond to interventions designed to open "windows of plasticity" and redirect its function toward better health. As a result, plasticity-facilitating treatments should be given within the framework of a positive behavioral intervention; negative experiences during this window may even make matters worse. Indeed, there are no magic bullets and drugs cannot substitute for targeted interventions that help an individual become resilient, of which mindfulness-based stress reduction and meditation are emerging as useful tools. PMID:26919273

  5. Sleep and synaptic plasticity in the developing and adult brain.

    PubMed

    Frank, Marcos G

    2015-01-01

    Sleep is hypothesized to play an integral role in brain plasticity. This has traditionally been investigated using behavioral assays. In the last 10-15 years, studies combining sleep measurements with in vitro and in vivo models of synaptic plasticity have provided exciting new insights into how sleep alters synaptic strength. In addition, new theories have been proposed that integrate older ideas about sleep function and recent discoveries in the field of synaptic plasticity. There remain, however, important challenges and unanswered questions. For example, sleep does not appear to have a single effect on synaptic strength. An unbiased review of the literature indicates that the effects of sleep vary widely depending on ontogenetic stage, the type of waking experience (or stimulation protocols) that precede sleep and the type of neuronal synapse under examination. In this review, I discuss these key findings in the context of current theories that posit different roles for sleep in synaptic plasticity. PMID:24671703

  6. Successful brain aging: plasticity, environmental enrichment, and lifestyle

    PubMed Central

    Mora, Francisco

    2013-01-01

    Aging is a physiological process that can develop without the appearance of concurrent diseases. However, very frequently, older people suffer from memory loss and an accelerated cognitive decline. Studies of the neurobiology of aging are beginning to decipher the mechanisms underlying not only the physiology of aging of the brain but also the mechanisms that make people more vulnerable to cognitive dysfunction and neurodegenerative diseases. Today we know that the aging brain retains a considerable functional plasticity, and that this plasticity is positively promoted by genes activated by different lifestyle factors. In this article some of these lifestyle factors and their mechanisms of action are reviewed, including environmental enrichment and the importance of food intake and some nutrients. Aerobic physical exercise and reduction of chronic stress are also briefly reviewed. It is proposed that lifestyle factors are powerful instruments to promote healthy and successful aging of the brain and delay the appearance of age-related cognitive deficits in elderly people. PMID:23576888

  7. Contrasting Acute and Slow-Growing Lesions: A New Door to Brain Plasticity

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Desmurget, Michel; Bonnetblanc, FranCois; Duffau, Hugues

    2007-01-01

    The concept of plasticity describes the mechanisms that rearrange cerebral organization following a brain injury. During the last century, plasticity has been mainly investigated in humans with acute strokes. It was then shown: (i) that the brain is organized into highly specialized functional areas, often designated "eloquent" areas and (ii) that…

  8. Searching for Factors Underlying Cerebral Plasticity in the Normal and Injured Brain

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kolb, Bryan; Muhammad, Arif; Gibb, Robbin

    2011-01-01

    Brain plasticity refers to the capacity of the nervous system to change its structure and ultimately its function over a lifetime. There have been major advances in our understanding of the principles of brain plasticity and behavior in laboratory animals and humans. Over the past decade there have been advances in the application of these…

  9. Synaptic plasticity functions in an organic electrochemical transistor

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gkoupidenis, Paschalis; Schaefer, Nathan; Strakosas, Xenofon; Fairfield, Jessamyn A.; Malliaras, George G.

    2015-12-01

    Synaptic plasticity functions play a crucial role in the transmission of neural signals in the brain. Short-term plasticity is required for the transmission, encoding, and filtering of the neural signal, whereas long-term plasticity establishes more permanent changes in neural microcircuitry and thus underlies memory and learning. The realization of bioinspired circuits that can actually mimic signal processing in the brain demands the reproduction of both short- and long-term aspects of synaptic plasticity in a single device. Here, we demonstrate the implementation of neuromorphic functions similar to biological memory, such as short- to long-term memory transition, in non-volatile organic electrochemical transistors (OECTs). Depending on the training of the OECT, the device displays either short- or long-term plasticity, therefore, exhibiting non von Neumann characteristics with merged processing and storing functionalities. These results are a first step towards the implementation of organic-based neuromorphic circuits.

  10. Activity-dependent plasticity of electrical synapses: increasing evidence for its presence and functional roles in the mammalian brain.

    PubMed

    Haas, Julie S; Greenwald, Corey M; Pereda, Alberto E

    2016-01-01

    Gap junctions mediate electrical synaptic transmission between neurons. While the actions of neurotransmitter modulators on the conductance of gap junctions have been extensively documented, increasing evidence indicates they can also be influenced by the ongoing activity of neural networks, in most cases via local interactions with nearby glutamatergic synapses. We review here early evidence for the existence of activity-dependent regulatory mechanisms as well recent examples reported in mammalian brain. The ubiquitous distribution of both neuronal connexins and the molecules involved suggest this phenomenon is widespread and represents a property of electrical transmission in general. PMID:27230776

  11. Plasticity in the Neonatal Brain following Hypoxic-Ischaemic Injury.

    PubMed

    Rocha-Ferreira, Eridan; Hristova, Mariya

    2016-01-01

    Hypoxic-ischaemic damage to the developing brain is a leading cause of child death, with high mortality and morbidity, including cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and cognitive disabilities. The developmental stage of the brain and the severity of the insult influence the selective regional vulnerability and the subsequent clinical manifestations. The increased susceptibility to hypoxia-ischaemia (HI) of periventricular white matter in preterm infants predisposes the immature brain to motor, cognitive, and sensory deficits, with cognitive impairment associated with earlier gestational age. In term infants HI causes selective damage to sensorimotor cortex, basal ganglia, thalamus, and brain stem. Even though the immature brain is more malleable to external stimuli compared to the adult one, a hypoxic-ischaemic event to the neonate interrupts the shaping of central motor pathways and can affect normal developmental plasticity through altering neurotransmission, changes in cellular signalling, neural connectivity and function, wrong targeted innervation, and interruption of developmental apoptosis. Models of neonatal HI demonstrate three morphologically different types of cell death, that is, apoptosis, necrosis, and autophagy, which crosstalk and can exist as a continuum in the same cell. In the present review we discuss the mechanisms of HI injury to the immature brain and the way they affect plasticity. PMID:27047695

  12. Plasticity in the Neonatal Brain following Hypoxic-Ischaemic Injury

    PubMed Central

    Rocha-Ferreira, Eridan

    2016-01-01

    Hypoxic-ischaemic damage to the developing brain is a leading cause of child death, with high mortality and morbidity, including cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and cognitive disabilities. The developmental stage of the brain and the severity of the insult influence the selective regional vulnerability and the subsequent clinical manifestations. The increased susceptibility to hypoxia-ischaemia (HI) of periventricular white matter in preterm infants predisposes the immature brain to motor, cognitive, and sensory deficits, with cognitive impairment associated with earlier gestational age. In term infants HI causes selective damage to sensorimotor cortex, basal ganglia, thalamus, and brain stem. Even though the immature brain is more malleable to external stimuli compared to the adult one, a hypoxic-ischaemic event to the neonate interrupts the shaping of central motor pathways and can affect normal developmental plasticity through altering neurotransmission, changes in cellular signalling, neural connectivity and function, wrong targeted innervation, and interruption of developmental apoptosis. Models of neonatal HI demonstrate three morphologically different types of cell death, that is, apoptosis, necrosis, and autophagy, which crosstalk and can exist as a continuum in the same cell. In the present review we discuss the mechanisms of HI injury to the immature brain and the way they affect plasticity. PMID:27047695

  13. Blockade of Astrocytic Calcineurin/NFAT Signaling Helps to Normalize Hippocampal Synaptic Function and Plasticity in a Rat Model of Traumatic Brain Injury

    PubMed Central

    Furman, Jennifer L.; Sompol, Pradoldej; Kraner, Susan D.; Pleiss, Melanie M.; Putman, Esther J.; Dunkerson, Jacob; Mohmmad Abdul, Hafiz; Roberts, Kelly N.; Scheff, Stephen W.

    2016-01-01

    -dependent activation of the transcription factor NFAT (Nuclear Factor of Activated T cells) selectively, we have shown that activated astrocytes contribute to neural dysfunction in animal models characterized by progressive/chronic neuropathology. Here, we show that the suppression of astrocytic calcineurin/NFATs helps to protect synaptic function and plasticity in an animal model in which pathology arises from a single traumatic brain injury. The findings suggest that at least some astrocyte functions impair recovery after trauma and may provide druggable targets for treating victims of acute nervous system injury. PMID:26843634

  14. Plastic brains and the dialectics of dialectics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Loxley, Andrew; Murphy, Colette; Seery, Aidan

    2014-09-01

    This article advances the thinking of Lima, Ostermann and Rezende's "Marxism in Vygotskian approaches to cultural studies of science education" and Mark Zuss' response to their paper. Firstly, it introduces Catherine Malabou's concept of plasticity, from which Hegel's dialectic can be re-read as historical materialist self-determination in a way that embraces science but non-reductively, and which leads to the possibility of challenging theoretical rigidity as a form of transformative action. Secondly, this response article provides political analysis of scientific concepts as they reproduce and reinforce particular interests and are expropriated by policy makers and unaware teacher educators whose understanding lies within a technical-instrumentalism and diluted humanism framework. Both arguments feature the human brain as an object of research in science education. From Malabou, the emancipatory conceptualisation of the brain as material, historical and sociocultural; whilst `Brain Gym' exemplifies a non-science and nonsensical misappropriation of scientific concepts for commercial gain via a para-educational intervention.

  15. Age, Plasticity, and Homeostasis In Childhood Brain Disorders

    PubMed Central

    Dennis, Maureen; Spiegler, Brenda J.; Juranek, Jenifer J.; Bigler, Erin D.; Snead, O. Carter; Fletcher, Jack M.

    2013-01-01

    It has been widely accepted that the younger the age and/or immaturity of the organism, the greater the brain plasticity, the young age plasticity privilege. This paper examines the relation of a young age to plasticity, reviewing human pediatric brain disorders, as well as selected animal models, human developmental and adult brain disorder studies. As well, we review developmental and childhood acquired disorders that involve a failure of regulatory homeostasis. Our core arguments are: Plasticity is neutral with respect to outcome. Although the effects of plasticity are often beneficial, the outcome of plasticity may be adaptive or maladaptive.The young age plasticity privilege has been overstated.Plastic change operates in concert with homeostatic mechanisms regulating change at every point in the lifespan.The same mechanisms that propel developmental change expose the immature brain to adverse events, making it more difficult for the immature than for the mature brain to sustain equilibrium between plasticity and homeostasis.Poor outcome in many neurodevelopmental disorders and childhood acquired brain insults is related to disequilibrium between plasticity and homeostasis. PMID:24096190

  16. Plasticity in the Developing Brain: Implications for Rehabilitation

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Johnston, Michael V.

    2009-01-01

    Neuronal plasticity allows the central nervous system to learn skills and remember information, to reorganize neuronal networks in response to environmental stimulation, and to recover from brain and spinal cord injuries. Neuronal plasticity is enhanced in the developing brain and it is usually adaptive and beneficial but can also be maladaptive…

  17. Plasticity of Nonneuronal Brain Tissue: Roles in Developmental Disorders

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Dong, Willie K.; Greenough, William T.

    2004-01-01

    Neuronal and nonneuronal plasticity are both affected by environmental and experiential factors. Remodeling of existing neurons induced by such factors has been observed throughout the brain, and includes alterations in dendritic field dimensions, synaptogenesis, and synaptic morphology. The brain loci affected by these plastic neuronal changes…

  18. Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function

    PubMed Central

    Gómez-Pinilla, Fernando

    2009-01-01

    It has long been suspected that the relative abundance of specific nutrients can affect cognitive processes and emotions. Newly described influences of dietary factors on neuronal function and synaptic plasticity have revealed some of the vital mechanisms that are responsible for the action of diet on brain health and mental function. Several gut hormones that can enter the brain, or that are produced in the brain itself, influence cognitive ability. In addition, well-established regulators of synaptic plasticity, such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor, can function as metabolic modulators, responding to peripheral signals such as food intake. Understanding the molecular basis of the effects of food on cognition will help us to determine how best to manipulate diet in order to increase the resistance of neurons to insults and promote mental fitness. PMID:18568016

  19. Modulating Hippocampal Plasticity with In Vivo Brain Stimulation

    PubMed Central

    Carhuatanta, Kim A.; McInturf, Shawn M.; Miklasevich, Molly K.; Jankord, Ryan

    2015-01-01

    Investigations into the use of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) in relieving symptoms of neurological disorders and enhancing cognitive or motor performance have exhibited promising results. However, the mechanisms by which tDCS effects brain function remain under scrutiny. We have demonstrated that in vivo tDCS in rats produced a lasting effect on hippocampal synaptic plasticity, as measured using extracellular recordings. Ex vivo preparations of hippocampal slices from rats that have been subjected to tDCS of 0.10 or 0.25 mA for 30 min followed by 30 min of recovery time displayed a robust twofold enhancement in long-term potentiation (LTP) induction accompanied by a 30% increase in paired-pulse facilitation (PPF). The magnitude of the LTP effect was greater with 0.25 mA compared with 0.10 mA stimulations, suggesting a dose-dependent relationship between tDCS intensity and its effect on synaptic plasticity. To test the persistence of these observed effects, animals were stimulated in vivo for 30 min at 0.25 mA and then allowed to return to their home cage for 24 h. Observation of the enhanced LTP induction, but not the enhanced PPF, continued 24 h after completion of 0.25 mA of tDCS. Addition of the NMDA blocker AP-5 abolished LTP in both control and stimulated rats but maintained the PPF enhancement in stimulated rats. The observation of enhanced LTP and PPF after tDCS demonstrates that non-invasive electrical stimulation is capable of modifying synaptic plasticity. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Researchers have used brain stimulation such as transcranial direct current stimulation on human subjects to alleviate symptoms of neurological disorders and enhance their performance. Here, using rats, we have investigated the potential mechanisms of how in vivo brain stimulation can produce such effect. We recorded directly on viable brain slices from rats after brain stimulation to detect lasting changes in pattern of neuronal activity. Our results showed that

  20. Plasticity and functional recovery in neurology.

    PubMed

    Ramachandran, V S

    2005-01-01

    Experiments on patients with phantom limbs suggest that neural connections in the adult human brain are much more malleable than previously assumed. Three weeks after amputation of an arm, sensations from the ipsilateral face are referred to the phantom; this effect is caused by the sensory input from the face skin 'invading' and activating deafferented hand zones in the cortex and thalamus. Many phantom arms are 'paralysed' in a painful position. If a mirror is propped vertically in the sagittal plane and the patient looks at the reflection of his/her normal hand, this reflection appears superimposed on the 'felt' position of the phantom. Remarkably, if the real arm is moved, the phantom is felt to move as well and this sometimes relieves the painful cramps in the phantom. Mirror visual feedback (MVF) has shown promising results with chronic regional pain syndrome and hemiparesis following stroke. These results suggest two reasons for a paradigm shift in neurorehabilitation. First, there appears to be tremendous latent plasticity even in the adult brain. Second, the brain should be thought of, not as a hierarchy of organised autonomous modules, each of which delivers its output to the next level, but as a set of complex interacting networks that are in a state of dynamic equilibrium with the brain's environment. Both principles can be potentially exploited in a clinical context to facilitate recovery of function. PMID:16138492

  1. Physical activity, brain plasticity, and Alzheimer's disease.

    PubMed

    Erickson, Kirk I; Weinstein, Andrea M; Lopez, Oscar L

    2012-11-01

    In this review we summarize the epidemiological, cross-sectional, and interventional studies examining the association between physical activity and brain volume, function, and risk for Alzheimer's disease. The epidemiological literature provides compelling evidence that greater amounts of physical activity are associated with a reduced risk of dementia in late life. In addition, randomized interventions using neuroimaging tools have reported that participation in physical activity increases the size of prefrontal and hippocampal brain areas, which may lead to a reduction in memory impairments. Consistent with these findings, longitudinal studies using neuroimaging tools also find that the volume of prefrontal and hippocampal brain areas are larger in individuals who engaged in more physical activity earlier in life. We conclude from this review that there is convincing evidence that physical activity has a consistent and robust association with brain regions implicated in age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease. In addition to summarizing this literature we provide recommendations for future research on physical activity and brain health. PMID:23085449

  2. Dynamic DNA methylation in the brain: a new epigenetic mark for experience-dependent plasticity

    PubMed Central

    Tognini, Paola; Napoli, Debora; Pizzorusso, Tommaso

    2015-01-01

    Experience-dependent plasticity is the ability of brain circuits to undergo molecular, structural and functional changes as a function of neural activity. Neural activity continuously shapes our brain during all the stages of our life, from infancy through adulthood and beyond. Epigenetic modifications of histone proteins and DNA seem to be a leading molecular mechanism to modulate the transcriptional changes underlying the fine-tuning of synaptic connections and circuitry rewiring during activity-dependent plasticity. The recent discovery that cytosine methylation is an epigenetic mark particularly dynamic in brain cells has strongly increased the interest of neuroscientists in understanding the role of covalent modifications of DNA in activity-induced remodeling of neuronal circuits. Here, we provide an overview of the role of DNA methylation and hydroxylmethylation in brain plasticity both during adulthood, with emphasis on learning and memory related processes, and during postnatal development, focusing specifically on experience-dependent plasticity in the visual cortex. PMID:26379502

  3. Plasticity of the Maternal Brain Across the Lifespan.

    PubMed

    Champagne, Frances A; Curley, James P

    2016-09-01

    Maternal behavior is dynamic and highly sensitive to experiential and contextual factors. In this review, this plasticity will be explored, with a focus on how experiences of females occurring from the time of fetal development through to adulthood impact maternal behavior and the maternal brain. Variation in postpartum maternal behavior is dependent on estrogen sensitivity within the medial preoptic area of the hypothalamus and activation within mesolimbic dopamine neurons. This review will discuss how experiences across the lifespan alter the function of these systems and the multigenerational consequences of these neuroendocrine and behavioral changes. These studies, based primarily on the examination of maternal behavior in laboratory rodents and nonhuman primates, provide mechanistic insights relevant to our understanding of human maternal behavior and to the mechanisms of lifelong plasticity. PMID:27589495

  4. Cortical Plasticity and Olfactory Function in Early Blindness

    PubMed Central

    Araneda, Rodrigo; Renier, Laurent A.; Rombaux, Philippe; Cuevas, Isabel; De Volder, Anne G.

    2016-01-01

    Over the last decade, functional brain imaging has provided insight to the maturation processes and has helped elucidate the pathophysiological mechanisms involved in brain plasticity in the absence of vision. In case of congenital blindness, drastic changes occur within the deafferented “visual” cortex that starts receiving and processing non visual inputs, including olfactory stimuli. This functional reorganization of the occipital cortex gives rise to compensatory perceptual and cognitive mechanisms that help blind persons achieve perceptual tasks, leading to superior olfactory abilities in these subjects. This view receives support from psychophysical testing, volumetric measurements and functional brain imaging studies in humans, which are presented here. PMID:27625596

  5. Cortical Plasticity and Olfactory Function in Early Blindness.

    PubMed

    Araneda, Rodrigo; Renier, Laurent A; Rombaux, Philippe; Cuevas, Isabel; De Volder, Anne G

    2016-01-01

    Over the last decade, functional brain imaging has provided insight to the maturation processes and has helped elucidate the pathophysiological mechanisms involved in brain plasticity in the absence of vision. In case of congenital blindness, drastic changes occur within the deafferented "visual" cortex that starts receiving and processing non visual inputs, including olfactory stimuli. This functional reorganization of the occipital cortex gives rise to compensatory perceptual and cognitive mechanisms that help blind persons achieve perceptual tasks, leading to superior olfactory abilities in these subjects. This view receives support from psychophysical testing, volumetric measurements and functional brain imaging studies in humans, which are presented here. PMID:27625596

  6. Neural Plasticity and Neurorehabilitation: Teaching the New Brain Old Tricks

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kleim, Jeffrey A.

    2011-01-01

    Following brain injury or disease there are widespread biochemical, anatomical and physiological changes that result in what might be considered a new, very different brain. This adapted brain is forced to reacquire behaviors lost as a result of the injury or disease and relies on neural plasticity within the residual neural circuits. The same…

  7. Measuring and Inducing Brain Plasticity in Chronic Aphasia

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Fridriksson, Julius

    2011-01-01

    Brain plasticity associated with anomia recovery in aphasia is poorly understood. Here, I review four recent studies from my lab that focused on brain modulation associated with long-term anomia outcome, its behavioral treatment, and the use of transcranial brain stimulation to enhance anomia treatment success in individuals with chronic aphasia…

  8. COPPER AND BRAIN FUNCTION

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Increasing evidence shows that brain development and function are impaired when the brain is deprived of copper either through dietary copper deficiency or through genetic defects in copper transport. A number of copper-dependent enzymes whose activities are lowered by copper deprivation form the ba...

  9. Split Brain Functioning.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Cassel, Russell N.

    1978-01-01

    Summarizing recent research, this article defines the functions performed by the left and right sides of the human brain. Attention is given to the right side, or the nondominant side, of the brain and its potential in terms of perception of the environment, music, art, geometry, and the aesthetics. (JC)

  10. Regeneration, Plasticity, and Induced Molecular Programs in Adult Zebrafish Brain

    PubMed Central

    Cosacak, Mehmet Ilyas; Papadimitriou, Christos; Kizil, Caghan

    2015-01-01

    Regenerative capacity of the brain is a variable trait within animals. Aquatic vertebrates such as zebrafish have widespread ability to renew their brains upon damage, while mammals have—if not none—very limited overall regenerative competence. Underlying cause of such a disparity is not fully evident; however, one of the reasons could be activation of peculiar molecular programs, which might have specific roles after injury or damage, by the organisms that regenerate. If this hypothesis is correct, then there must be genes and pathways that (a) are expressed only after injury or damage in tissues, (b) are biologically and functionally relevant to restoration of neural tissue, and (c) are not detected in regenerating organisms. Presence of such programs might circumvent the initial detrimental effects of the damage and subsequently set up the stage for tissue redevelopment to take place by modulating the plasticity of the neural stem/progenitor cells. Additionally, if transferable, those “molecular mechanisms of regeneration” could open up new avenues for regenerative therapies of humans in clinical settings. This review focuses on the recent studies addressing injury/damage-induced molecular programs in zebrafish brain, underscoring the possibility of the presence of genes that could be used as biomarkers of neural plasticity and regeneration. PMID:26417601

  11. The maternal brain and its plasticity in humans.

    PubMed

    Kim, Pilyoung; Strathearn, Lane; Swain, James E

    2016-01-01

    This article is part of a Special Issue "Parental Care". Early mother-infant relationships play important roles in infants' optimal development. New mothers undergo neurobiological changes that support developing mother-infant relationships regardless of great individual differences in those relationships. In this article, we review the neural plasticity in human mothers' brains based on functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies. First, we review the neural circuits that are involved in establishing and maintaining mother-infant relationships. Second, we discuss early postpartum factors (e.g., birth and feeding methods, hormones, and parental sensitivity) that are associated with individual differences in maternal brain neuroplasticity. Third, we discuss abnormal changes in the maternal brain related to psychopathology (i.e., postpartum depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, substance abuse) and potential brain remodeling associated with interventions. Last, we highlight potentially important future research directions to better understand normative changes in the maternal brain and risks for abnormal changes that may disrupt early mother-infant relationships. PMID:26268151

  12. Brain plasticity in Diptera and Hymenoptera

    PubMed Central

    Groh, Claudia; Meinertzhagen, Ian A.

    2010-01-01

    To mediate different types of behaviour, nervous systems must coordinate the proper operation of their neural circuits as well as short- and long-term alterations that occur within those circuits. The latter ultimately devolve upon specific changes in neuronal structures, membrane properties and synaptic connections that are all examples of plasticity. This reorganization of the adult nervous system is shaped by internal and external influences both during development and adult maturation. In adults, behavioural experience is a major driving force of neuronal plasticity studied particularly in sensory systems. The range of adaptation depends on features that are important to a particular species, so that learning is essential for foraging in honeybees, while regenerative capacities are important in hemimetabolous insects with long appendages. Experience is usually effective during a critical period in early adult life, when neural function becomes tuned to future conditions in an insect's life. Changes occur at all levels, in synaptic circuits, neuropile volumes, and behaviour. There are many examples, and this review incorporates only a select few, mainly those from Diptera and Hymenoptera. PMID:20036946

  13. Computational anatomy for studying use-dependant brain plasticity

    PubMed Central

    Draganski, Bogdan; Kherif, Ferath; Lutti, Antoine

    2014-01-01

    In this article we provide a comprehensive literature review on the in vivo assessment of use-dependant brain structure changes in humans using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computational anatomy. We highlight the recent findings in this field that allow the uncovering of the basic principles behind brain plasticity in light of the existing theoretical models at various scales of observation. Given the current lack of in-depth understanding of the neurobiological basis of brain structure changes we emphasize the necessity of a paradigm shift in the investigation and interpretation of use-dependent brain plasticity. Novel quantitative MRI acquisition techniques provide access to brain tissue microstructural properties (e.g., myelin, iron, and water content) in-vivo, thereby allowing unprecedented specific insights into the mechanisms underlying brain plasticity. These quantitative MRI techniques require novel methods for image processing and analysis of longitudinal data allowing for straightforward interpretation and causality inferences. PMID:25018716

  14. Plasticity of renal endocrine function.

    PubMed

    Kurt, Birgül; Kurtz, Armin

    2015-03-15

    The kidneys are important endocrine organs. They secrete humoral factors, such as calcitriol, erythropoietin, klotho, and renin into the circulation, and therefore, they are essentially involved in the regulation of a variety of processes ranging from bone formation to erythropoiesis. The endocrine functions are established by cells, such as proximal or distal tubular cells, renocortical interstitial cells, or mural cells of afferent arterioles. These endocrine cells are either fixed in number, such as tubular cells, which individually and gradually upregulate or downregulate hormone production, or they belong to a pool of cells, which display a recruitment behavior, such as erythropoietin- and renin-producing cells. In the latter case, regulation of humoral function occurs via (de)recruitment of active endocrine cells. As a consequence renin- and erythropoietin-producing cells in the kidney show a high degree of plasticity by reversibly switching between distinct cell states. In this review, we will focus on the characteristics of renin- and of erythropoietin-producing cells, especially on their origin and localization, their reversible transformations, and the mediators, which are responsible for transformation. Finally, we will discuss a possible interconversion of renin and erythropoietin expression. PMID:25608752

  15. Split My Brain: A Case Study of Seizure Disorder and Brain Function

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Omarzu, Julia

    2004-01-01

    This case involves a couple deciding whether or not their son should undergo brain surgery to treat a severe seizure disorder. In examining this dilemma, students apply knowledge of brain anatomy and function. They also learn about brain scanning techniques and discuss the plasticity of the brain.

  16. Dietary fructose aggravates the pathobiology of traumatic brain injury by influencing energy homeostasis and plasticity.

    PubMed

    Agrawal, Rahul; Noble, Emily; Vergnes, Laurent; Ying, Zhe; Reue, Karen; Gomez-Pinilla, Fernando

    2016-05-01

    Fructose consumption has been on the rise for the last two decades and is starting to be recognized as being responsible for metabolic diseases. Metabolic disorders pose a particular threat for brain conditions characterized by energy dysfunction, such as traumatic brain injury. Traumatic brain injury patients experience sudden abnormalities in the control of brain metabolism and cognitive function, which may worsen the prospect of brain plasticity and function. The mechanisms involved are poorly understood. Here we report that fructose consumption disrupts hippocampal energy homeostasis as evidenced by a decline in functional mitochondria bioenergetics (oxygen consumption rate and cytochrome C oxidase activity) and an aggravation of the effects of traumatic brain injury on molecular systems engaged in cell energy homeostasis (sirtuin 1, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator-1alpha) and synaptic plasticity (brain-derived neurotrophic factor, tropomyosin receptor kinase B, cyclic adenosine monophosphate response element binding, synaptophysin signaling). Fructose also worsened the effects of traumatic brain injury on spatial memory, which disruption was associated with a decrease in hippocampal insulin receptor signaling. Additionally, fructose consumption and traumatic brain injury promoted plasma membrane lipid peroxidation, measured by elevated protein and phenotypic expression of 4-hydroxynonenal. These data imply that high fructose consumption exacerbates the pathology of brain trauma by further disrupting energy metabolism and brain plasticity, highlighting the impact of diet on the resilience to neurological disorders. PMID:26661172

  17. Plasticity of brain wave network interactions and evolution across physiologic states

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Kang K. L.; Bartsch, Ronny P.; Lin, Aijing; Mantegna, Rosario N.; Ivanov, Plamen Ch.

    2015-01-01

    Neural plasticity transcends a range of spatio-temporal scales and serves as the basis of various brain activities and physiologic functions. At the microscopic level, it enables the emergence of brain waves with complex temporal dynamics. At the macroscopic level, presence and dominance of specific brain waves is associated with important brain functions. The role of neural plasticity at different levels in generating distinct brain rhythms and how brain rhythms communicate with each other across brain areas to generate physiologic states and functions remains not understood. Here we perform an empirical exploration of neural plasticity at the level of brain wave network interactions representing dynamical communications within and between different brain areas in the frequency domain. We introduce the concept of time delay stability (TDS) to quantify coordinated bursts in the activity of brain waves, and we employ a system-wide Network Physiology integrative approach to probe the network of coordinated brain wave activations and its evolution across physiologic states. We find an association between network structure and physiologic states. We uncover a hierarchical reorganization in the brain wave networks in response to changes in physiologic state, indicating new aspects of neural plasticity at the integrated level. Globally, we find that the entire brain network undergoes a pronounced transition from low connectivity in Deep Sleep and REM to high connectivity in Light Sleep and Wake. In contrast, we find that locally, different brain areas exhibit different network dynamics of brain wave interactions to achieve differentiation in function during different sleep stages. Moreover, our analyses indicate that plasticity also emerges in frequency-specific networks, which represent interactions across brain locations mediated through a specific frequency band. Comparing frequency-specific networks within the same physiologic state we find very different degree of

  18. Plasticity of brain wave network interactions and evolution across physiologic states.

    PubMed

    Liu, Kang K L; Bartsch, Ronny P; Lin, Aijing; Mantegna, Rosario N; Ivanov, Plamen Ch

    2015-01-01

    Neural plasticity transcends a range of spatio-temporal scales and serves as the basis of various brain activities and physiologic functions. At the microscopic level, it enables the emergence of brain waves with complex temporal dynamics. At the macroscopic level, presence and dominance of specific brain waves is associated with important brain functions. The role of neural plasticity at different levels in generating distinct brain rhythms and how brain rhythms communicate with each other across brain areas to generate physiologic states and functions remains not understood. Here we perform an empirical exploration of neural plasticity at the level of brain wave network interactions representing dynamical communications within and between different brain areas in the frequency domain. We introduce the concept of time delay stability (TDS) to quantify coordinated bursts in the activity of brain waves, and we employ a system-wide Network Physiology integrative approach to probe the network of coordinated brain wave activations and its evolution across physiologic states. We find an association between network structure and physiologic states. We uncover a hierarchical reorganization in the brain wave networks in response to changes in physiologic state, indicating new aspects of neural plasticity at the integrated level. Globally, we find that the entire brain network undergoes a pronounced transition from low connectivity in Deep Sleep and REM to high connectivity in Light Sleep and Wake. In contrast, we find that locally, different brain areas exhibit different network dynamics of brain wave interactions to achieve differentiation in function during different sleep stages. Moreover, our analyses indicate that plasticity also emerges in frequency-specific networks, which represent interactions across brain locations mediated through a specific frequency band. Comparing frequency-specific networks within the same physiologic state we find very different degree of

  19. Lutein and Brain Function

    PubMed Central

    Erdman, John W.; Smith, Joshua W.; Kuchan, Matthew J.; Mohn, Emily S.; Johnson, Elizabeth J.; Rubakhin, Stanislav S.; Wang, Lin; Sweedler, Jonathan V.; Neuringer, Martha

    2015-01-01

    Lutein is one of the most prevalent carotenoids in nature and in the human diet. Together with zeaxanthin, it is highly concentrated as macular pigment in the foveal retina of primates, attenuating blue light exposure, providing protection from photo-oxidation and enhancing visual performance. Recently, interest in lutein has expanded beyond the retina to its possible contributions to brain development and function. Only primates accumulate lutein within the brain, but little is known about its distribution or physiological role. Our team has begun to utilize the rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) model to study the uptake and bio-localization of lutein in the brain. Our overall goal has been to assess the association of lutein localization with brain function. In this review, we will first cover the evolution of the non-human primate model for lutein and brain studies, discuss prior association studies of lutein with retina and brain function, and review approaches that can be used to localize brain lutein. We also describe our approach to the biosynthesis of 13C-lutein, which will allow investigation of lutein flux, localization, metabolism and pharmacokinetics. Lastly, we describe potential future research opportunities. PMID:26566524

  20. Neural Plasticity in Multiple Sclerosis: The Functional and Molecular Background

    PubMed Central

    Ksiazek-Winiarek, Dominika Justyna; Szpakowski, Piotr; Glabinski, Andrzej

    2015-01-01

    Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune neurodegenerative disorder resulting in motor dysfunction and cognitive decline. The inflammatory and neurodegenerative changes seen in the brains of MS patients lead to progressive disability and increasing brain atrophy. The most common type of MS is characterized by episodes of clinical exacerbations and remissions. This suggests the presence of compensating mechanisms for accumulating damage. Apart from the widely known repair mechanisms like remyelination, another important phenomenon is neuronal plasticity. Initially, neuroplasticity was connected with the developmental stages of life; however, there is now growing evidence confirming that structural and functional reorganization occurs throughout our lifetime. Several functional studies, utilizing such techniques as fMRI, TBS, or MRS, have provided valuable data about the presence of neuronal plasticity in MS patients. CNS ability to compensate for neuronal damage is most evident in RR-MS; however it has been shown that brain plasticity is also preserved in patients with substantial brain damage. Regardless of the numerous studies, the molecular background of neuronal plasticity in MS is still not well understood. Several factors, like IL-1β, BDNF, PDGF, or CB1Rs, have been implicated in functional recovery from the acute phase of MS and are thus considered as potential therapeutic targets. PMID:26229689

  1. Brain Hemispheric Functioning.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Roeper Review, 1981

    1981-01-01

    Four articles consider brain hemisphere functioning of gifted students as it relates to gifted programs; alternation of education methodologies; spatial ability as an element of intellectual gifted functioning; and the interaction between hemisphere specialization, imagery, creative imagination, and sex differentiation. (SB)

  2. Evidence for Impaired Plasticity after Traumatic Brain Injury in the Developing Brain

    PubMed Central

    Li, Nan; Yang, Ya; Glover, David P.; Zhang, Jiangyang; Saraswati, Manda; Robertson, Courtney

    2014-01-01

    Abstract The robustness of plasticity mechanisms during brain development is essential for synaptic formation and has a beneficial outcome after sensory deprivation. However, the role of plasticity in recovery after acute brain injury in children has not been well defined. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the leading cause of death and disability among children, and long-term disability from pediatric TBI can be particularly devastating. We investigated the altered cortical plasticity 2–3 weeks after injury in a pediatric rat model of TBI. Significant decreases in neurophysiological responses across the depth of the noninjured, primary somatosensory cortex (S1) in TBI rats, compared to age-matched controls, were detected with electrophysiological measurements of multi-unit activity (86.4% decrease), local field potential (75.3% decrease), and functional magnetic resonance imaging (77.6% decrease). Because the corpus callosum is a clinically important white matter tract that was shown to be consistently involved in post-traumatic axonal injury, we investigated its anatomical and functional characteristics after TBI. Indeed, corpus callosum abnormalities in TBI rats were detected with diffusion tensor imaging (9.3% decrease in fractional anisotropy) and histopathological analysis (14% myelination volume decreases). Whole-cell patch clamp recordings further revealed that TBI results in significant decreases in spontaneous firing rate (57% decrease) and the potential to induce long-term potentiation in neurons located in layer V of the noninjured S1 by stimulation of the corpus callosum (82% decrease). The results suggest that post-TBI plasticity can translate into inappropriate neuronal connections and dramatic changes in the function of neuronal networks. PMID:24050267

  3. The Maternal Brain: An Organ with Peripartal Plasticity

    PubMed Central

    Hillerer, Katharina Maria; Jacobs, Volker Rudolf; Fischer, Thorsten; Aigner, Ludwig

    2014-01-01

    The time of pregnancy, birth, and lactation, is characterized by numerous specific alterations in several systems of the maternal body. Peripartum-associated changes in physiology and behavior, as well as their underlying molecular mechanisms, have been the focus of research since decades, but are still far from being entirely understood. Also, there is growing evidence that pregnancy and lactation are associated with a variety of alterations in neural plasticity, including adult neurogenesis, functional and structural synaptic plasticity, and dendritic remodeling in different brain regions. All of the mentioned changes are not only believed to be a prerequisite for the proper fetal and neonatal development, but moreover to be crucial for the physiological and mental health of the mother. The underlying mechanisms apparently need to be under tight control, since in cases of dysregulation, a certain percentage of women develop disorders like preeclampsia or postpartum mood and anxiety disorders during the course of pregnancy and lactation. This review describes common peripartum adaptations in physiology and behavior. Moreover, it concentrates on different forms of peripartum-associated plasticity including changes in neurogenesis and their possible underlying molecular mechanisms. Finally, consequences of malfunction in those systems are discussed. PMID:24883213

  4. The effect of inflammation and its reduction on brain plasticity in multiple sclerosis: MRI evidence.

    PubMed

    Tomassini, Valentina; d'Ambrosio, Alessandro; Petsas, Nikolaos; Wise, Richard G; Sbardella, Emilia; Allen, Marek; Tona, Francesca; Fanelli, Fulvia; Foster, Catherine; Carnì, Marco; Gallo, Antonio; Pantano, Patrizia; Pozzilli, Carlo

    2016-07-01

    Brain plasticity is the basis for systems-level functional reorganization that promotes recovery in multiple sclerosis (MS). As inflammation interferes with plasticity, its pharmacological modulation may restore plasticity by promoting desired patterns of functional reorganization. Here, we tested the hypothesis that brain plasticity probed by a visuomotor adaptation task is impaired with MS inflammation and that pharmacological reduction of inflammation facilitates its restoration. MS patients were assessed twice before (sessions 1 and 2) and once after (session 3) the beginning of Interferon beta (IFN beta), using behavioural and structural MRI measures. During each session, 2 functional MRI runs of a visuomotor task, separated by 25-minutes of task practice, were performed. Within-session between-run change in task-related functional signal was our imaging marker of plasticity. During session 1, patients were compared with healthy controls. Comparison of patients' sessions 2 and 3 tested the effect of reduced inflammation on our imaging marker of plasticity. The proportion of patients with gadolinium-enhancing lesions reduced significantly during IFN beta. In session 1, patients demonstrated a greater between-run difference in functional MRI activity of secondary visual areas and cerebellum than controls. This abnormally large practice-induced signal change in visual areas, and in functionally connected posterior parietal and motor cortices, was reduced in patients in session 3 compared with 2. Our results suggest that MS inflammation alters short-term plasticity underlying motor practice. Reduction of inflammation with IFN beta is associated with a restoration of this plasticity, suggesting that modulation of inflammation may enhance recovery-oriented strategies that rely on patients' brain plasticity. Hum Brain Mapp 37:2431-2445, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. PMID:26991559

  5. Brain Plasticity in Blind Subjects Centralizes Beyond the Modal Cortices

    PubMed Central

    Ortiz-Terán, Laura; Ortiz, Tomás; Perez, David L.; Aragón, Jose Ignacio; Diez, Ibai; Pascual-Leone, Alvaro; Sepulcre, Jorge

    2016-01-01

    It is well established that the human brain reorganizes following sensory deprivations. In blind individuals, visual processing regions including the lateral occipital cortex (LOC) are activated by auditory and tactile stimuli as demonstrated by neurophysiological and neuroimaging investigations. The mechanisms for such plasticity remain unclear, but shifts in connectivity across existing neural networks appear to play a critical role. The majority of research efforts to date have focused on neuroplastic changes within visual unimodal regions, however we hypothesized that neuroplastic alterations may also occur in brain networks beyond the visual cortices including involvement of multimodal integration regions and heteromodal cortices. In this study, two recently developed graph-theory based functional connectivity analyses, interconnector analyses and local and distant connectivity, were applied to investigate functional reorganization in regional and distributed neural-systems in late-onset blind (LB) and congenitally blind (CB) cohorts each compared to their own group of sighted controls. While functional network alterations as measured by the degree of differential links (DDL) occurred in sensory cortices, neuroplastic changes were most prominent within multimodal and association cortices. Subjects with LB showed enhanced multimodal integration connections in the parieto-opercular, temporoparietal junction (TPJ) and ventral premotor (vPM) regions, while CB individuals exhibited increased superior parietal cortex (SPC) connections. This study reveals the critical role of recipient multi-sensory integration areas in network reorganization and cross-modal plasticity in blind individuals. These findings suggest that aspects of cross-modal neuroplasticity and adaptive sensory-motor and auditory functions may potentially occur through reorganization in multimodal integration regions. PMID:27458350

  6. Brain Plasticity in Blind Subjects Centralizes Beyond the Modal Cortices.

    PubMed

    Ortiz-Terán, Laura; Ortiz, Tomás; Perez, David L; Aragón, Jose Ignacio; Diez, Ibai; Pascual-Leone, Alvaro; Sepulcre, Jorge

    2016-01-01

    It is well established that the human brain reorganizes following sensory deprivations. In blind individuals, visual processing regions including the lateral occipital cortex (LOC) are activated by auditory and tactile stimuli as demonstrated by neurophysiological and neuroimaging investigations. The mechanisms for such plasticity remain unclear, but shifts in connectivity across existing neural networks appear to play a critical role. The majority of research efforts to date have focused on neuroplastic changes within visual unimodal regions, however we hypothesized that neuroplastic alterations may also occur in brain networks beyond the visual cortices including involvement of multimodal integration regions and heteromodal cortices. In this study, two recently developed graph-theory based functional connectivity analyses, interconnector analyses and local and distant connectivity, were applied to investigate functional reorganization in regional and distributed neural-systems in late-onset blind (LB) and congenitally blind (CB) cohorts each compared to their own group of sighted controls. While functional network alterations as measured by the degree of differential links (DDL) occurred in sensory cortices, neuroplastic changes were most prominent within multimodal and association cortices. Subjects with LB showed enhanced multimodal integration connections in the parieto-opercular, temporoparietal junction (TPJ) and ventral premotor (vPM) regions, while CB individuals exhibited increased superior parietal cortex (SPC) connections. This study reveals the critical role of recipient multi-sensory integration areas in network reorganization and cross-modal plasticity in blind individuals. These findings suggest that aspects of cross-modal neuroplasticity and adaptive sensory-motor and auditory functions may potentially occur through reorganization in multimodal integration regions. PMID:27458350

  7. A Plastic Temporal Brain Code for Conscious State Generation

    PubMed Central

    Dresp-Langley, Birgitta; Durup, Jean

    2009-01-01

    Consciousness is known to be limited in processing capacity and often described in terms of a unique processing stream across a single dimension: time. In this paper, we discuss a purely temporal pattern code, functionally decoupled from spatial signals, for conscious state generation in the brain. Arguments in favour of such a code include Dehaene et al.'s long-distance reverberation postulate, Ramachandran's remapping hypothesis, evidence for a temporal coherence index and coincidence detectors, and Grossberg's Adaptive Resonance Theory. A time-bin resonance model is developed, where temporal signatures of conscious states are generated on the basis of signal reverberation across large distances in highly plastic neural circuits. The temporal signatures are delivered by neural activity patterns which, beyond a certain statistical threshold, activate, maintain, and terminate a conscious brain state like a bar code would activate, maintain, or inactivate the electronic locks of a safe. Such temporal resonance would reflect a higher level of neural processing, independent from sensorial or perceptual brain mechanisms. PMID:19644552

  8. A plastic temporal brain code for conscious state generation.

    PubMed

    Dresp-Langley, Birgitta; Durup, Jean

    2009-01-01

    Consciousness is known to be limited in processing capacity and often described in terms of a unique processing stream across a single dimension: time. In this paper, we discuss a purely temporal pattern code, functionally decoupled from spatial signals, for conscious state generation in the brain. Arguments in favour of such a code include Dehaene et al.'s long-distance reverberation postulate, Ramachandran's remapping hypothesis, evidence for a temporal coherence index and coincidence detectors, and Grossberg's Adaptive Resonance Theory. A time-bin resonance model is developed, where temporal signatures of conscious states are generated on the basis of signal reverberation across large distances in highly plastic neural circuits. The temporal signatures are delivered by neural activity patterns which, beyond a certain statistical threshold, activate, maintain, and terminate a conscious brain state like a bar code would activate, maintain, or inactivate the electronic locks of a safe. Such temporal resonance would reflect a higher level of neural processing, independent from sensorial or perceptual brain mechanisms. PMID:19644552

  9. Neurophysiological markers of plastic brain reorganization following central and peripheral lesions.

    PubMed

    Ferreri, Florinda; Guerra, Andrea; Rossini, Paolo Maria

    2014-12-01

    There is increasing evidence supporting the concept that adult brain has the remarkable ability to plastically reorganize itself. Brain plasticity involves distinct functional and structural components and plays a crucial role in reorganizing central nervous system's networks after central and peripheral lesions in order to partly or totally restore lost and/or compromised functions. This plastic rearrangement occurs in fact not only after a central nervous system injury but also following a peripheral lesion. Interestingly, the existence of a certain type of maladaptive plasticity was clearly recognized in the last decade, which gives reason for example to poor out- come performances or aberrant phenomena. In this review we analyze stroke and amputees studies, as illustrative conditions of central and peripheral nervous system damage, and discuss the adaptive as well maladaptive plastic brain changes following these lesions. The emerging possibility, through neuro-imaging and neurophysiological advanced techniques, to clarify some crucial issues underlying brain plasticity will give the chance to modulate these mechanisms in a highly personalized therapy. This approach may have a tremendous impact in a variety of neuropsychiatric disorders opening a new era of restorative medicine. PMID:25987182

  10. Plasticity-related genes in brain development and amygdala-dependent learning.

    PubMed

    Ehrlich, D E; Josselyn, S A

    2016-01-01

    Learning about motivationally important stimuli involves plasticity in the amygdala, a temporal lobe structure. Amygdala-dependent learning involves a growing number of plasticity-related signaling pathways also implicated in brain development, suggesting that learning-related signaling in juveniles may simultaneously influence development. Here, we review the pleiotropic functions in nervous system development and amygdala-dependent learning of a signaling pathway that includes brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), extracellular signaling-related kinases (ERKs) and cyclic AMP-response element binding protein (CREB). Using these canonical, plasticity-related genes as an example, we discuss the intersection of learning-related and developmental plasticity in the immature amygdala, when aversive and appetitive learning may influence the developmental trajectory of amygdala function. We propose that learning-dependent activation of BDNF, ERK and CREB signaling in the immature amygdala exaggerates and accelerates neural development, promoting amygdala excitability and environmental sensitivity later in life. PMID:26419764

  11. Spatiotemporal Computations of an Excitable and Plastic Brain: Neuronal Plasticity Leads to Noise-Robust and Noise-Constructive Computations

    PubMed Central

    Toutounji, Hazem; Pipa, Gordon

    2014-01-01

    It is a long-established fact that neuronal plasticity occupies the central role in generating neural function and computation. Nevertheless, no unifying account exists of how neurons in a recurrent cortical network learn to compute on temporally and spatially extended stimuli. However, these stimuli constitute the norm, rather than the exception, of the brain's input. Here, we introduce a geometric theory of learning spatiotemporal computations through neuronal plasticity. To that end, we rigorously formulate the problem of neural representations as a relation in space between stimulus-induced neural activity and the asymptotic dynamics of excitable cortical networks. Backed up by computer simulations and numerical analysis, we show that two canonical and widely spread forms of neuronal plasticity, that is, spike-timing-dependent synaptic plasticity and intrinsic plasticity, are both necessary for creating neural representations, such that these computations become realizable. Interestingly, the effects of these forms of plasticity on the emerging neural code relate to properties necessary for both combating and utilizing noise. The neural dynamics also exhibits features of the most likely stimulus in the network's spontaneous activity. These properties of the spatiotemporal neural code resulting from plasticity, having their grounding in nature, further consolidate the biological relevance of our findings. PMID:24651447

  12. Plastic Brains and the Dialectics of Dialectics

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Loxley, Andrew; Murphy, Colette; Seery, Aidan

    2014-01-01

    This article advances the thinking of Lima, Ostermann and Rezende's "Marxism in Vygotskian approaches to cultural studies of science education" and Mark Zuss' response to their paper. Firstly, it introduces Catherine Malabou's concept of plasticity, from which Hegel's dialectic can be re-read as historical materialist…

  13. Effects of Diet on Brain Plasticity in Animal and Human Studies: Mind the Gap

    PubMed Central

    Dias, Gisele Pereira

    2014-01-01

    Dietary interventions have emerged as effective environmental inducers of brain plasticity. Among these dietary interventions, we here highlight the impact of caloric restriction (CR: a consistent reduction of total daily food intake), intermittent fasting (IF, every-other-day feeding), and diet supplementation with polyphenols and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) on markers of brain plasticity in animal studies. Moreover, we also discuss epidemiological and intervention studies reporting the effects of CR, IF and dietary polyphenols and PUFAs on learning, memory, and mood. In particular, we evaluate the gap in mechanistic understanding between recent findings from animal studies and those human studies reporting that these dietary factors can benefit cognition, mood, and anxiety, aging, and Alzheimer's disease—with focus on the enhancement of structural and functional plasticity markers in the hippocampus, such as increased expression of neurotrophic factors, synaptic function and adult neurogenesis. Lastly, we discuss some of the obstacles to harnessing the promising effects of diet on brain plasticity in animal studies into effective recommendations and interventions to promote healthy brain function in humans. Together, these data reinforce the important translational concept that diet, a modifiable lifestyle factor, holds the ability to modulate brain health and function. PMID:24900924

  14. Effects of diet on brain plasticity in animal and human studies: mind the gap.

    PubMed

    Murphy, Tytus; Dias, Gisele Pereira; Thuret, Sandrine

    2014-01-01

    Dietary interventions have emerged as effective environmental inducers of brain plasticity. Among these dietary interventions, we here highlight the impact of caloric restriction (CR: a consistent reduction of total daily food intake), intermittent fasting (IF, every-other-day feeding), and diet supplementation with polyphenols and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) on markers of brain plasticity in animal studies. Moreover, we also discuss epidemiological and intervention studies reporting the effects of CR, IF and dietary polyphenols and PUFAs on learning, memory, and mood. In particular, we evaluate the gap in mechanistic understanding between recent findings from animal studies and those human studies reporting that these dietary factors can benefit cognition, mood, and anxiety, aging, and Alzheimer's disease-with focus on the enhancement of structural and functional plasticity markers in the hippocampus, such as increased expression of neurotrophic factors, synaptic function and adult neurogenesis. Lastly, we discuss some of the obstacles to harnessing the promising effects of diet on brain plasticity in animal studies into effective recommendations and interventions to promote healthy brain function in humans. Together, these data reinforce the important translational concept that diet, a modifiable lifestyle factor, holds the ability to modulate brain health and function. PMID:24900924

  15. Striatal plasticity and basal ganglia circuit function.

    PubMed

    Kreitzer, Anatol C; Malenka, Robert C

    2008-11-26

    The dorsal striatum, which consists of the caudate and putamen, is the gateway to the basal ganglia. It receives convergent excitatory afferents from cortex and thalamus and forms the origin of the direct and indirect pathways, which are distinct basal ganglia circuits involved in motor control. It is also a major site of activity-dependent synaptic plasticity. Striatal plasticity alters the transfer of information throughout basal ganglia circuits and may represent a key neural substrate for adaptive motor control and procedural memory. Here, we review current understanding of synaptic plasticity in the striatum and its role in the physiology and pathophysiology of basal ganglia function. PMID:19038213

  16. Reorganization and plastic changes of the human brain associated with skill learning and expertise

    PubMed Central

    Chang, Yongmin

    2014-01-01

    Novel experience and learning new skills are known as modulators of brain function. Advances in non-invasive brain imaging have provided new insight into structural and functional reorganization associated with skill learning and expertise. Especially, significant imaging evidences come from the domains of sports and music. Data from in vivo imaging studies in sports and music have provided vital information on plausible neural substrates contributing to brain reorganization underlying skill acquisition in humans. This mini review will attempt to take a narrow snapshot of imaging findings demonstrating functional and structural plasticity that mediate skill learning and expertise while identifying converging areas of interest and possible avenues for future research. PMID:24550812

  17. Functional Brain Imaging

    PubMed Central

    2006-01-01

    Executive Summary Objective The objective of this analysis is to review a spectrum of functional brain imaging technologies to identify whether there are any imaging modalities that are more effective than others for various brain pathology conditions. This evidence-based analysis reviews magnetoencephalography (MEG), magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), positron emission tomography (PET), and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) for the diagnosis or surgical management of the following conditions: Alzheimer’s disease (AD), brain tumours, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis (MS), and Parkinson’s disease (PD). Clinical Need: Target Population and Condition Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, degenerative, neurologic condition characterized by cognitive impairment and memory loss. The Canadian Study on Health and Aging estimated that there will be 97,000 incident cases (about 60,000 women) of dementia (including AD) in Canada in 2006. In Ontario, there will be an estimated 950 new cases and 580 deaths due to brain cancer in 2006. Treatments for brain tumours include surgery and radiation therapy. However, one of the limitations of radiation therapy is that it damages tissue though necrosis and scarring. Computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may not distinguish between radiation effects and resistant tissue, creating a potential role for functional brain imaging. Epilepsy is a chronic disorder that provokes repetitive seizures. In Ontario, the rate of epilepsy is estimated to be 5 cases per 1,000 people. Most people with epilepsy are effectively managed with drug therapy; but about 50% do not respond to drug therapy. Surgical resection of the seizure foci may be considered in these patients, and functional brain imaging may play a role in localizing the seizure foci. Multiple sclerosis is a progressive, inflammatory, demyelinating disease of the central nervous system (CNS). The cause of MS is unknown; however, it is thought to be

  18. Brain-machine interfaces can accelerate clarification of the principal mysteries and real plasticity of the brain

    PubMed Central

    Sakurai, Yoshio

    2014-01-01

    This perspective emphasizes that the brain-machine interface (BMI) research has the potential to clarify major mysteries of the brain and that such clarification of the mysteries by neuroscience is needed to develop BMIs. I enumerate five principal mysteries. The first is “how is information encoded in the brain?” This is the fundamental question for understanding what our minds are and is related to the verification of Hebb’s cell assembly theory. The second is “how is information distributed in the brain?” This is also a reconsideration of the functional localization of the brain. The third is “what is the function of the ongoing activity of the brain?” This is the problem of how the brain is active during no-task periods and what meaning such spontaneous activity has. The fourth is “how does the bodily behavior affect the brain function?” This is the problem of brain-body interaction, and obtaining a new “body” by a BMI leads to a possibility of changes in the owner’s brain. The last is “to what extent can the brain induce plasticity?” Most BMIs require changes in the brain’s neuronal activity to realize higher performance, and the neuronal operant conditioning inherent in the BMIs further enhances changes in the activity. PMID:24904323

  19. Removing brakes on adult brain plasticity: from molecular to behavioral interventions

    PubMed Central

    Bavelier, D.; Levi, D.M.; Li, R.W.; Dan, Y.; Hensch, T.K.

    2010-01-01

    Adult brain plasticity, although possible, remains more restricted in scope than during development. Here, we address conditions under which circuit rewiring may be facilitated in the mature brain. At a cellular and molecular level, adult plasticity is actively limited. Some of these “brakes” are structural, such as peri-neuronal nets or myelin, which inhibit neurite outgrowth. Others are functional, acting directly upon excitatory-inhibitory balance within local circuits. Plasticity in adulthood can be induced either by lifting these brakes through invasive interventions or by exploiting endogenous permissive factors, such as neuromodulators. Using the amblyopic visual system as a model, we discuss genetic, pharmacological, and environmental removal of brakes to enable recovery of vision in adult rodents. Although these mechanisms remain largely uncharted in the human, we consider how they may provide a biological foundation for the remarkable increase in plasticity after action video game play by amblyopic subjects. PMID:21068299

  20. Rapid eye movement sleep promotes cortical plasticity in the developing brain

    PubMed Central

    Dumoulin Bridi, Michelle C.; Aton, Sara J.; Seibt, Julie; Renouard, Leslie; Coleman, Tammi; Frank, Marcos G.

    2015-01-01

    Rapid eye movement sleep is maximal during early life, but its function in the developing brain is unknown. We investigated the role of rapid eye movement sleep in a canonical model of developmental plasticity in vivo (ocular dominance plasticity in the cat) induced by monocular deprivation. Preventing rapid eye movement sleep after monocular deprivation reduced ocular dominance plasticity and inhibited activation of a kinase critical for this plasticity (extracellular signal–regulated kinase). Chronic single-neuron recording in freely behaving cats further revealed that cortical activity during rapid eye movement sleep resembled activity present during monocular deprivation. This corresponded to times of maximal extracellular signal–regulated kinase activation. These findings indicate that rapid eye movement sleep promotes molecular and network adaptations that consolidate waking experience in the developing brain. PMID:26601213

  1. Modulating Brain Oscillations to Drive Brain Function

    PubMed Central

    Thut, Gregor

    2014-01-01

    Do neuronal oscillations play a causal role in brain function? In a study in this issue of PLOS Biology, Helfrich and colleagues address this long-standing question by attempting to drive brain oscillations using transcranial electrical current stimulation. Remarkably, they were able to manipulate visual perception by forcing brain oscillations of the left and right visual hemispheres into synchrony using oscillatory currents over both hemispheres. Under this condition, human observers more often perceived an inherently ambiguous visual stimulus in one of its perceptual instantiations. These findings shed light on the mechanisms underlying neuronal computation. They show that it is the neuronal oscillations that drive the visual experience, not the experience driving the oscillations. And they indicate that synchronized oscillatory activity groups brain areas into functional networks. This points to new ways for controlled experimental and possibly also clinical interventions for the study and modulation of brain oscillations and associated functions. PMID:25549340

  2. Plasticity following early-life brain injury: Insights from quantitative MRI.

    PubMed

    Fiori, Simona; Guzzetta, Andrea

    2015-03-01

    Over the last decade, the application of novel advanced neuroimaging techniques to study congenital brain damage has provided invaluable insights into the mechanisms underlying early neuroplasticity. The concept that is clearly emerging, both from human and nun-human studies, is that functional reorganization in the immature brain is substantially different from that of the more mature, developed brain. This applies to the reorganization of language, the sensorimotor system, and the visual system. The rapid implementation and development of higher order imaging methods will offer increased, currently unavailable knowledge about the specific mechanisms of cerebral plasticity in infancy, which is essential to support the development of early therapeutic interventions aimed at supporting and enhancing functional reorganization during a time of greatest potential brain plasticity. PMID:25813668

  3. Musical Training Induces Functional Plasticity in Human Hippocampus

    PubMed Central

    Esposito, Fabrizio; di Salle, Francesco; Boller, Christian; Hilti, Caroline C.; Habermeyer, Benedikt; Scheffler, Klaus; Wetzel, Stephan; Seifritz, Erich; Cattapan-Ludewig, Katja

    2010-01-01

    Training can change the functional and structural organization of the brain, and animal models demonstrate that the hippocampus formation is particularly susceptible to training-related neuroplasticity. In humans, however, direct evidence for functional plasticity of the adult hippocampus induced by training is still missing. Here, we used musicians' brains as a model to test for plastic capabilities of the adult human hippocampus. By using functional magnetic resonance imaging optimized for the investigation of auditory processing, we examined brain responses induced by temporal novelty in otherwise isochronous sound patterns in musicians and musical laypersons, since the hippocampus has been suggested previously to be crucially involved in various forms of novelty detection. In the first cross-sectional experiment, we identified enhanced neural responses to temporal novelty in the anterior left hippocampus of professional musicians, pointing to expertise-related differences in hippocampal processing. In the second experiment, we evaluated neural responses to acoustic temporal novelty in a longitudinal approach to disentangle training-related changes from predispositional factors. For this purpose, we examined an independent sample of music academy students before and after two semesters of intensive aural skills training. After this training period, hippocampal responses to temporal novelty in sounds were enhanced in musical students, and statistical interaction analysis of brain activity changes over time suggests training rather than predisposition effects. Thus, our results provide direct evidence for functional changes of the adult hippocampus in humans related to musical training. PMID:20107063

  4. Central Role of Maladapted Astrocytic Plasticity in Ischemic Brain Edema Formation.

    PubMed

    Wang, Yu-Feng; Parpura, Vladimir

    2016-01-01

    Brain edema formation and the ensuing brain damages are the major cause of high mortality and long term disability following the occurrence of ischemic stroke. In this process, oxygen and glucose deprivation and the resulting reperfusion injury play primary roles. In response to the ischemic insult, the neurovascular unit experiences both intracellular and extracellular edemas, associated with maladapted astrocytic plasticity. The astrocytic plasticity includes both morphological and functional plasticity. The former involves a reactive gliosis and the subsequent glial retraction. It relates to the capacity of astrocytes to buffer changes in extracellular chemical levels, particularly K(+) and glutamate, as well as the integrity of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). The latter involves the expression and activity of a series of ion and water transport proteins. These molecules are grouped together around glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and water channel protein aquaporin 4 (AQP4) to form functional networks, regulate hydromineral balance across cell membranes and maintain the integrity of the BBB. Intense ischemic challenges can disrupt these capacities of astrocytes and result in their maladaptation. The maladapted astrocytic plasticity in ischemic stroke cannot only disrupt the hydromineral homeostasis across astrocyte membrane and the BBB, but also leads to disorders of the whole neurovascular unit. This review focuses on how the maladapted astrocytic plasticity in ischemic stroke plays the central role in the brain edema formation. PMID:27242440

  5. Central Role of Maladapted Astrocytic Plasticity in Ischemic Brain Edema Formation

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Yu-Feng; Parpura, Vladimir

    2016-01-01

    Brain edema formation and the ensuing brain damages are the major cause of high mortality and long term disability following the occurrence of ischemic stroke. In this process, oxygen and glucose deprivation and the resulting reperfusion injury play primary roles. In response to the ischemic insult, the neurovascular unit experiences both intracellular and extracellular edemas, associated with maladapted astrocytic plasticity. The astrocytic plasticity includes both morphological and functional plasticity. The former involves a reactive gliosis and the subsequent glial retraction. It relates to the capacity of astrocytes to buffer changes in extracellular chemical levels, particularly K+ and glutamate, as well as the integrity of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). The latter involves the expression and activity of a series of ion and water transport proteins. These molecules are grouped together around glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and water channel protein aquaporin 4 (AQP4) to form functional networks, regulate hydromineral balance across cell membranes and maintain the integrity of the BBB. Intense ischemic challenges can disrupt these capacities of astrocytes and result in their maladaptation. The maladapted astrocytic plasticity in ischemic stroke cannot only disrupt the hydromineral homeostasis across astrocyte membrane and the BBB, but also leads to disorders of the whole neurovascular unit. This review focuses on how the maladapted astrocytic plasticity in ischemic stroke plays the central role in the brain edema formation. PMID:27242440

  6. Effect of exosomes derived from multipluripotent mesenchymal stromal cells on functional recovery and neurovascular plasticity in rats after traumatic brain injury

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Yanlu; Chopp, Michael; Meng, Yuling; Katakowski, Mark; Xin, Hongqi; Mahmood, Asim; Xiong, Ye

    2015-01-01

    Object Transplanted multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) improve functional recovery in rats after traumatic brain injury (TBI). Here, we test a novel hypothesis that systemic administration of cell-free exosomes generated from MSCs promotes functional recovery and neurovascular remodeling in rats after TBI. Methods Wistar rats were subjected to TBI followed by tail vein injection of 100 μg protein of exosomes derived from MSCs or an equal volume of vehicle phosphate-buffered saline (n = 8/group) 24 hours later. To evaluate cognitive and sensorimotor functional recovery, the modified Morris water maze, neurological severity score and footfault tests were performed. Animals were sacrificed at 35 days after TBI. Histopathological and immunohistochemical analyses were performed for measurements of lesion volume, neurovascular remodeling (angiogenesis and neurogenesis), and neuroinflammation. Results Compared with saline-treated controls, exosome-treated TBI rats showed significant improvement in spatial learning at 34-35 days measured by the Morris water maze test (p < 0.05), and sensorimotor functional recovery, i.e., reduced neurological deficits and footfault frequency, observed at 14-35 days post injury (p < 0.05). Exosome treatment significantly increased the number of newborn endothelial cells in the lesion boundary zone and dentate gyrus, and significantly increased the number of newborn immature and mature neurons in the dentate gyrus as well as reduced neuroinflammation. Conclusions We, for the first time, demonstrate that MSC-generated exosomes effectively improve functional recovery, at least in part, by promoting endogenous angiogenesis and neurogenesis and reducing inflammation in rats after TBI. Thus, MSC-generated exosomes may provide a novel cell-free therapy for TBI and possibly other neurological diseases. PMID:25594326

  7. Plasticity of Brain Networks in a Randomized Intervention Trial of Exercise Training in Older Adults

    PubMed Central

    Voss, Michelle W.; Prakash, Ruchika S.; Erickson, Kirk I.; Basak, Chandramallika; Chaddock, Laura; Kim, Jennifer S.; Alves, Heloisa; Heo, Susie; Szabo, Amanda N.; White, Siobhan M.; Wójcicki, Thomas R.; Mailey, Emily L.; Gothe, Neha; Olson, Erin A.; McAuley, Edward; Kramer, Arthur F.

    2010-01-01

    Research has shown the human brain is organized into separable functional networks during rest and varied states of cognition, and that aging is associated with specific network dysfunctions. The present study used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine low-frequency (0.008 < f < 0.08 Hz) coherence of cognitively relevant and sensory brain networks in older adults who participated in a 1-year intervention trial, comparing the effects of aerobic and non-aerobic fitness training on brain function and cognition. Results showed that aerobic training improved the aging brain's resting functional efficiency in higher-level cognitive networks. One year of walking increased functional connectivity between aspects of the frontal, posterior, and temporal cortices within the Default Mode Network and a Frontal Executive Network, two brain networks central to brain dysfunction in aging. Length of training was also an important factor. Effects in favor of the walking group were observed only after 12 months of training, compared to non-significant trends after 6 months. A non-aerobic stretching and toning group also showed increased functional connectivity in the DMN after 6 months and in a Frontal Parietal Network after 12 months, possibly reflecting experience-dependent plasticity. Finally, we found that changes in functional connectivity were behaviorally relevant. Increased functional connectivity was associated with greater improvement in executive function. Therefore the study provides the first evidence for exercise-induced functional plasticity in large-scale brain systems in the aging brain, using functional connectivity techniques, and offers new insight into the role of aerobic fitness in attenuating age-related brain dysfunction. PMID:20890449

  8. Coexistence of reactive plasticity and neurodegeneration in Alzheimer diseased brains.

    PubMed

    Guevara, J; Dilhuydy, H; Espinosa, B; Delacourte, A; Quirion, R; Mena, R; Joanette, Y; Zenteno, E; Robitaille, Y

    2004-10-01

    Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a pathological process characterized by neuron degeneration and, as recently suggested, brain plasticity. In this work, we compared the reactive plasticity in AD brains associated to O-glycosydically linked glycans, recognized by lectins from Amaranthus leucocarpus (ALL) and Macrobrachium rosenbergii (MRL), and the tau neuritic degeneration. The neuritic degenerative process was evaluated by the quantification of aggregated neuritic structures. Lesions were determined using antibodies against hyperphosphorylated-tau (AD2), amyloid-beta, and synaptophysin. In these conditions, we classified and quantified three pathological structures associated to the neuritic degenerative process: 1) Amyloid-beta deposits (AbetaDs), 2) Classic neuritic plaques (NPs), and 3) Dystrophic neurites clusters (DNCs) lacking amyloid-beta deposits. Reactive plasticity structures were constituted by meganeuritic clusters (MCs) and peri-neuronal sprouting in neurons of the CA4 region of the hippocampus, immunoreactive to synaptophysin (exclusively in AD brains) and GAP-43. Besides, MCs were associated to sialylated O-glycosydically linked glycans as determined by positive labeling with ALL and MRL. Considering that these lectins are specific for the synaptic sprouting process in AD, our results suggest the co-occurrence of of several areas of reactive plasticity and neuron degeneration in AD. PMID:15375749

  9. Plasticity of Hippocampal Excitatory-Inhibitory Balance: Missing the Synaptic Control in the Epileptic Brain.

    PubMed

    Bonansco, Christian; Fuenzalida, Marco

    2016-01-01

    Synaptic plasticity is the capacity generated by experience to modify the neural function and, thereby, adapt our behaviour. Long-term plasticity of glutamatergic and GABAergic transmission occurs in a concerted manner, finely adjusting the excitatory-inhibitory (E/I) balance. Imbalances of E/I function are related to several neurological diseases including epilepsy. Several evidences have demonstrated that astrocytes are able to control the synaptic plasticity, with astrocytes being active partners in synaptic physiology and E/I balance. Here, we revise molecular evidences showing the epileptic stage as an abnormal form of long-term brain plasticity and propose the possible participation of astrocytes to the abnormal increase of glutamatergic and decrease of GABAergic neurotransmission in epileptic networks. PMID:27006834

  10. Plasticity of Hippocampal Excitatory-Inhibitory Balance: Missing the Synaptic Control in the Epileptic Brain

    PubMed Central

    Bonansco, Christian; Fuenzalida, Marco

    2016-01-01

    Synaptic plasticity is the capacity generated by experience to modify the neural function and, thereby, adapt our behaviour. Long-term plasticity of glutamatergic and GABAergic transmission occurs in a concerted manner, finely adjusting the excitatory-inhibitory (E/I) balance. Imbalances of E/I function are related to several neurological diseases including epilepsy. Several evidences have demonstrated that astrocytes are able to control the synaptic plasticity, with astrocytes being active partners in synaptic physiology and E/I balance. Here, we revise molecular evidences showing the epileptic stage as an abnormal form of long-term brain plasticity and propose the possible participation of astrocytes to the abnormal increase of glutamatergic and decrease of GABAergic neurotransmission in epileptic networks. PMID:27006834

  11. Experience-Dependent Neural Plasticity in the Adult Damaged Brain

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kerr, Abigail L.; Cheng, Shao-Ying; Jones, Theresa A.

    2011-01-01

    Behavioral experience is at work modifying the structure and function of the brain throughout the lifespan, but it has a particularly dramatic influence after brain injury. This review summarizes recent findings on the role of experience in reorganizing the adult damaged brain, with a focus on findings from rodent stroke models of chronic upper…

  12. Activity-dependent synaptic plasticity modulates the critical phase of brain development.

    PubMed

    Chaudhury, Sraboni; Sharma, Vikram; Kumar, Vivek; Nag, Tapas C; Wadhwa, Shashi

    2016-04-01

    Plasticity or neuronal plasticity is a unique and adaptive feature of nervous system which allows neurons to reorganize their interactions in response to an intrinsic or extrinsic stimulation and shapes the formation and maintenance of a functional neuronal circuit. Synaptic plasticity is the most important form of neural plasticity and plays critical role during the development allowing the formation of precise neural connectivity via the process of pruning. In the sensory systems-auditory and visual, this process is heavily dependent on the external cues perceived during the development. Environmental enrichment paradigms in an activity-dependent manner result in early maturation of the synapses and more efficient trans-synaptic signaling or communication flow. This has been extensively observed in the avian auditory system. On the other hand, stimuli results in negative effect can cause alterations in the synaptic connectivity and strength resulting in various developmental brain disorders including autism, fragile X syndrome and rett syndrome. In this review we discuss the role of different forms of activity (spontaneous or environmental) during the development of the nervous system in modifying synaptic plasticity necessary for shaping the adult brain. Also, we try to explore various factors (molecular, genetic and epigenetic) involved in altering the synaptic plasticity in positive and negative way. PMID:26515724

  13. Functional Lateralization of the Brain.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Dean, Raymond S.

    1984-01-01

    Research concerning lateralization of human brain functions is examined in light of the recent publication of the Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children. Following a review of research methodologies and functions ascribed to the hemispheres of the brain, differences are portrayed as complementary and coexisting modes of cognitive processing.…

  14. Estrogen treatment affects brain functioning after menopause.

    PubMed

    Bayer, Ulrike; Hausmann, Markus

    2011-12-01

    Sex hormones have powerful neuromodulatory effects on functional brain organization and cognitive functioning. This paper reviews findings from studies investigating the influence of sex hormones in postmenopausal women with and without hormone therapy (HT). Functional brain organization was investigated using different behavioural tasks in postmenopausal women using either estrogen therapy or combined estrogen plus gestagen therapy and age- and IQ-matched postmenopausal women not taking HT. The results revealed HT-related modulations in specific aspects of functional brain organization including functional cerebral asymmetries and interhemispheric interaction. In contrast to younger women during the menstrual cycle, however, it seems that HT, and especially estrogen therapy, after menopause affects intrahemispheric processing rather than interhemispheric interaction. This might be explained by a faster and more pronounced age-related decline in intrahemispheric relative to interhemispheric functioning, which might be associated with higher sensitivity to HT. Taken together, the findings suggest that the female brain retains its plasticity even after reproductive age and remains susceptible to the effects of sex hormones throughout the lifetime, which might help to discover new clinical approaches in the hormonal treatment of neurological and psychiatric disorders. PMID:22120942

  15. Human brain somatic representation: a functional magnetic resonance mapping

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Romero-Romo, Juan; Rojas, Rafael; Salgado, Perla; Sánchez-Cortázar, Julián; Vazquez-Vela, Arturo; Barrios, Fernando A.

    2001-10-01

    Central nervous system studies of injury and plasticity for the reorganization in the phantom limb sensation area presented. In particular functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) mapping of the somatic and motor cortex of amputee patients, in the case of referred sensations. Using fMRI we can show the correlation between structure and functional field and study the reorganization due to plasticity in the brain.

  16. Increased morphological asymmetry, evolvability and plasticity in human brain evolution

    PubMed Central

    Gómez-Robles, Aida; Hopkins, William D.; Sherwood, Chet C.

    2013-01-01

    The study of hominin brain evolution relies mostly on evaluation of the endocranial morphology of fossil skulls. However, only some general features of external brain morphology are evident from endocasts, and many anatomical details can be difficult or impossible to examine. In this study, we use geometric morphometric techniques to evaluate inter- and intraspecific differences in cerebral morphology in a sample of in vivo magnetic resonance imaging scans of chimpanzees and humans, with special emphasis on the study of asymmetric variation. Our study reveals that chimpanzee–human differences in cerebral morphology are mainly symmetric; by contrast, there is continuity in asymmetric variation between species, with humans showing an increased range of variation. Moreover, asymmetric variation does not appear to be the result of allometric scaling at intraspecific levels, whereas symmetric changes exhibit very slight allometric effects within each species. Our results emphasize two key properties of brain evolution in the hominine clade: first, evolution of chimpanzee and human brains (and probably their last common ancestor and related species) is not strongly morphologically constrained, thus making their brains highly evolvable and responsive to selective pressures; second, chimpanzee and, especially, human brains show high levels of fluctuating asymmetry indicative of pronounced developmental plasticity. We infer that these two characteristics can have a role in human cognitive evolution. PMID:23615289

  17. Indestructible plastic: the neuroscience of the new aging brain.

    PubMed

    Holman, Constance; de Villers-Sidani, Etienne

    2014-01-01

    In recent years, research on experience-dependent plasticity has provided valuable insight on adaptation to environmental input across the lifespan, and advances in understanding the minute cellular changes underlying the brain's capacity for self-reorganization have opened exciting new possibilities for treating illness and injury. Ongoing work in this line of inquiry has also come to deeply influence another field: cognitive neuroscience of the normal aging. This complex process, once considered inevitable or beyond the reach of treatment, has been transformed into an arena of intense investigation and strategic intervention. However, important questions remain about this characterization of the aging brain, and the assumptions it makes about the social, cultural, and biological space occupied by cognition in the older individual and body. The following paper will provide a critical examination of the move from basic experiments on the neurophysiology of experience-dependent plasticity to the growing market for (and public conception of) cognitive aging as a medicalized space for intervention by neuroscience-backed technologies. Entangled with changing concepts of normality, pathology, and self-preservation, we will argue that this new understanding, led by personalized cognitive training strategies, is approaching a point where interdisciplinary research is crucial to provide a holistic and nuanced understanding of the aging process. This new outlook will allow us to move forward in a space where our knowledge, like our new conception of the brain, is never static. PMID:24782746

  18. Differential Pharmacological Effects on Brain Reactivity and Plasticity in Alzheimer’s Disease

    PubMed Central

    Brem, Anna-Katharine; Atkinson, Natasha J.; Seligson, Erica E.; Pascual-Leone, Alvaro

    2013-01-01

    Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (AChEIs) are the most commonly prescribed monotherapeutic medications for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). However, their underlying neurophysiological effects remain largely unknown. We investigated the effects of monotherapy (AChEI) and combination therapy (AChEI and memantine) on brain reactivity and plasticity. Patients treated with monotherapy (AChEI) (N = 7) were compared to patients receiving combination therapy (COM) (N = 9) and a group of age-matched, healthy controls (HCs) (N = 13). Cortical reactivity and plasticity of the motor cortex were examined using transcranial magnetic stimulation. Cognitive functions were assessed with the cognitive subscale of the Alzheimer Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive Subscale (ADAS-Cog), activities of daily living (ADLs) with the ADCS-ADL. In addition we assessed the degree of brain atrophy by measuring brain-scalp distances in seven different brain areas. Patient groups differed in resting motor threshold and brain atrophy, with COM showing a lower motor threshold but less atrophy than AChEI. COM showed similar plasticity effects as the HC group, while plasticity was reduced in AChEI. Long-interval intracortical inhibition (LICI) was impaired in both patient groups when compared to HC. ADAS-Cog scores were positively correlated with LICI measures and with brain atrophy, specifically in the left inferior parietal cortex. AD patients treated with mono- or combination-therapy show distinct neurophysiological patterns. Further studies should investigate whether these measures might serve as biomarkers of treatment response and whether they could guide other therapeutic interventions. PMID:24109459

  19. Review of Research: Neuroscience and the Impact of Brain Plasticity on Braille Reading

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hannan, Cheryl Kamei

    2006-01-01

    In this systematic review of research, the author analyzes studies of neural cortical activation, brain plasticity, and braille reading. The conclusions regarding the brain's plasticity and ability to reorganize are encouraging for individuals with degenerative eye conditions or late-onset blindness because they indicate that the brain can make…

  20. Low-frequency transcranial magnetic stimulation is beneficial for enhancing synaptic plasticity in the aging brain

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Zhan-chi; Luan, Feng; Xie, Chun-yan; Geng, Dan-dan; Wang, Yan-yong; Ma, Jun

    2015-01-01

    In the aging brain, cognitive function gradually declines and causes a progressive reduction in the structural and functional plasticity of the hippocampus. Transcranial magnetic stimulation is an emerging and novel neurological and psychiatric tool used to investigate the neurobiology of cognitive function. Recent studies have demonstrated that low-frequency transcranial magnetic stimulation (≤1 Hz) ameliorates synaptic plasticity and spatial cognitive deficits in learning-impaired mice. However, the mechanisms by which this treatment improves these deficits during normal aging are still unknown. Therefore, the current study investigated the effects of transcranial magnetic stimulation on the brain-derived neurotrophic factor signal pathway, synaptic protein markers, and spatial memory behavior in the hippocampus of normal aged mice. The study also investigated the downstream regulator, Fyn kinase, and the downstream effectors, synaptophysin and growth-associated protein 43 (both synaptic markers), to determine the possible mechanisms by which transcranial magnetic stimulation regulates cognitive capacity. Transcranial magnetic stimulation with low intensity (110% average resting motor threshold intensity, 1 Hz) increased mRNA and protein levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, tropomyosin receptor kinase B, and Fyn in the hippocampus of aged mice. The treatment also upregulated the mRNA and protein expression of synaptophysin and growth-associated protein 43 in the hippocampus of these mice. In conclusion, brain-derived neurotrophic factor signaling may play an important role in sustaining and regulating structural synaptic plasticity induced by transcranial magnetic stimulation in the hippocampus of aging mice, and Fyn may be critical during this regulation. These responses may change the structural plasticity of the aging hippocampus, thereby improving cognitive function. PMID:26199608

  1. Cortical Plasticity in the Setting of Brain Tumors.

    PubMed

    Fisicaro, Ryan A; Jost, Ethan; Shaw, Katharina; Brennan, Nicole Petrovich; Peck, Kyung K; Holodny, Andrei I

    2016-02-01

    Cortical reorganization of function due to the growth of an adjacent brain tumor has clearly been demonstrated in a number of surgically proven cases. Such cases demonstrate the unmistakable implications for the neurosurgical treatment of brain tumors, as the cortical function may not reside where one may initially suspect based solely on the anatomical magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Consequently, preoperative localization of eloquent areas adjacent to a brain tumor is necessary, as this may demonstrate unexpected organization, which may affect the neurosurgical approach to the lesion. However, in interpreting functional MRI studies, the interpreting physician must be cognizant of artifacts, which may limit the accuracy of functional MRI in the setting of brain tumors. PMID:26848558

  2. Applications of manganese-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MEMRI) to image brain plasticity in song birds.

    PubMed

    Van der Linden, Annemie; Van Meir, Vincent; Tindemans, Ilse; Verhoye, Marleen; Balthazart, Jacques

    2004-12-01

    The song control system of song birds is an excellent model for studying brain plasticity and has thus far been extensively analyzed by histological and electrophysiological methods. However, these approaches do not provide a global view of the brain and/or do not allow repeated measures, which are necessary to establish correlations between alterations in neural substrate and behavior. Application of in vivo manganese-enhanced MRI enabled us for the first time to visualize the song control system repeatedly in the same bird, making it possible to quantify dynamically the volume changes in this circuit as a function of seasonal and hormonal influences. In this review, we introduce and explore the song control system of song birds as a natural model for brain plasticity to validate a new cutting edge technique, which we called 'repeated dynamic manganese enhanced MRI' or D-MEMRI. This technique is based on the use of implanted permanent cannulae--for accurate repeated manganese injections in a defined target area--and the subsequent MRI acquisition of the dynamics of the accumulation of manganese in projection brain targets. A compilation of the D-MEMRI data obtained thus far in this system demonstrates the usefulness of this new method for studying brain plasticity. In particular it is shown to be a perfect tool for long-term studies of morphological and functional responses of specific brain circuits to changes in endocrine conditions. The method was also successfully applied to obtain quantitative measures of changes in activity as a function of auditory stimuli in different neuronal populations of a same nucleus that project to different targets. D-MEMRI, combined with other MRI techniques, clearly harbors potential for unraveling seasonal, hormonal, pharmacological or even genetically driven changes in a neuronal circuit, by simultaneously measuring changes in morphology, activity and connectivity. PMID:15761949

  3. Evolution, development, and plasticity of the human brain: from molecules to bones.

    PubMed

    Hrvoj-Mihic, Branka; Bienvenu, Thibault; Stefanacci, Lisa; Muotri, Alysson R; Semendeferi, Katerina

    2013-01-01

    Neuroanatomical, molecular, and paleontological evidence is examined in light of human brain evolution. The brain of extant humans differs from the brains of other primates in its overall size and organization, and differences in size and organization of specific cortical areas and subcortical structures implicated into complex cognition and social and emotional processing. The human brain is also characterized by functional lateralizations, reflecting specializations of the cerebral hemispheres in humans for different types of processing, facilitating fast and reliable communication between neural cells in an enlarged brain. The features observed in the adult brain reflect human-specific patterns of brain development. Compared to the brains of other primates, the human brain takes longer to mature, promoting an extended period for establishing cortical microcircuitry and its modifications. Together, these features may underlie the prolonged period of learning and acquisition of technical and social skills necessary for survival, creating a unique cognitive and behavioral niche typical of our species. The neuroanatomical findings are in concordance with molecular analyses, which suggest a trend toward heterochrony in the expression of genes implicated in different functions. These include synaptogenesis, neuronal maturation, and plasticity in humans, mutations in genes implicated in neurite outgrowth and plasticity, and an increased role of regulatory mechanisms, potentially promoting fast modification of neuronal morphologies in response to new computational demands. At the same time, endocranial casts of fossil hominins provide an insight into the timing of the emergence of uniquely human features in the course of evolution. We conclude by proposing several ways of combining comparative neuroanatomy, molecular biology and insights gained from fossil endocasts in future research. PMID:24194709

  4. Evolution, development, and plasticity of the human brain: from molecules to bones

    PubMed Central

    Hrvoj-Mihic, Branka; Bienvenu, Thibault; Stefanacci, Lisa; Muotri, Alysson R.; Semendeferi, Katerina

    2013-01-01

    Neuroanatomical, molecular, and paleontological evidence is examined in light of human brain evolution. The brain of extant humans differs from the brains of other primates in its overall size and organization, and differences in size and organization of specific cortical areas and subcortical structures implicated into complex cognition and social and emotional processing. The human brain is also characterized by functional lateralizations, reflecting specializations of the cerebral hemispheres in humans for different types of processing, facilitating fast and reliable communication between neural cells in an enlarged brain. The features observed in the adult brain reflect human-specific patterns of brain development. Compared to the brains of other primates, the human brain takes longer to mature, promoting an extended period for establishing cortical microcircuitry and its modifications. Together, these features may underlie the prolonged period of learning and acquisition of technical and social skills necessary for survival, creating a unique cognitive and behavioral niche typical of our species. The neuroanatomical findings are in concordance with molecular analyses, which suggest a trend toward heterochrony in the expression of genes implicated in different functions. These include synaptogenesis, neuronal maturation, and plasticity in humans, mutations in genes implicated in neurite outgrowth and plasticity, and an increased role of regulatory mechanisms, potentially promoting fast modification of neuronal morphologies in response to new computational demands. At the same time, endocranial casts of fossil hominins provide an insight into the timing of the emergence of uniquely human features in the course of evolution. We conclude by proposing several ways of combining comparative neuroanatomy, molecular biology and insights gained from fossil endocasts in future research. PMID:24194709

  5. Neighborhood matters: divergent patterns of stress-induced plasticity across the brain.

    PubMed

    Chattarji, Sumantra; Tomar, Anupratap; Suvrathan, Aparna; Ghosh, Supriya; Rahman, Mohammed Mostafizur

    2015-10-01

    The fact that exposure to severe stress leads to the development of psychiatric disorders serves as the basic rationale for animal models of stress disorders. Clinical and neuroimaging studies have shown that three brain areas involved in learning and memory--the hippocampus, amygdala and prefrontal cortex--undergo distinct structural and functional changes in individuals with stress disorders. These findings from patient studies pose several challenges for animal models of stress disorders. For instance, why does stress impair cognitive function, yet enhance fear and anxiety? Can the same stressful experience elicit contrasting patterns of plasticity in the hippocampus, amygdala and prefrontal cortex? How does even a brief exposure to traumatic stress lead to long-lasting behavioral abnormalities? Thus, animal models of stress disorders must not only capture the unique spatio-temporal features of structural and functional alterations in these brain areas, but must also provide insights into the underlying neuronal plasticity mechanisms. This Review will address some of these key questions by describing findings from animal models on how stress-induced plasticity varies across different brain regions and thereby gives rise to the debilitating emotional and cognitive symptoms of stress-related psychiatric disorders. PMID:26404711

  6. Self-Organized Criticality Model for Brain Plasticity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Arcangelis, Lucilla; Perrone-Capano, Carla; Herrmann, Hans J.

    2006-01-01

    Networks of living neurons exhibit an avalanche mode of activity, experimentally found in organotypic cultures. Here we present a model that is based on self-organized criticality and takes into account brain plasticity, which is able to reproduce the spectrum of electroencephalograms (EEG). The model consists of an electrical network with threshold firing and activity-dependent synapse strengths. The system exhibits an avalanche activity in a power-law distribution. The analysis of the power spectra of the electrical signal reproduces very robustly the power-law behavior with the exponent 0.8, experimentally measured in EEG spectra. The same value of the exponent is found on small-world lattices and for leaky neurons, indicating that universality holds for a wide class of brain models.

  7. Reorganization of Functional Connectivity as a Correlate of Cognitive Recovery in Acquired Brain Injury

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Castellanos, Nazareth P.; Paul, Nuria; Ordonez, Victoria E.; Demuynck, Olivier; Bajo, Ricardo; Campo, Pablo; Bilbao, Alvaro; Ortiz, Tomas; del-Pozo, Francisco; Maestu, Fernando

    2010-01-01

    Cognitive processes require a functional interaction between specialized multiple, local and remote brain regions. Although these interactions can be strongly altered by an acquired brain injury, brain plasticity allows network reorganization to be principally responsible for recovery. The present work evaluates the impact of brain injury on…

  8. Changes of the directional brain networks related with brain plasticity in patients with long-term unilateral sensorineural hearing loss.

    PubMed

    Zhang, G-Y; Yang, M; Liu, B; Huang, Z-C; Li, J; Chen, J-Y; Chen, H; Zhang, P-P; Liu, L-J; Wang, J; Teng, G-J

    2016-01-28

    Previous studies often report that early auditory deprivation or congenital deafness contributes to cross-modal reorganization in the auditory-deprived cortex, and this cross-modal reorganization limits clinical benefit from cochlear prosthetics. However, there are inconsistencies among study results on cortical reorganization in those subjects with long-term unilateral sensorineural hearing loss (USNHL). It is also unclear whether there exists a similar cross-modal plasticity of the auditory cortex for acquired monaural deafness and early or congenital deafness. To address this issue, we constructed the directional brain functional networks based on entropy connectivity of resting-state functional MRI and researched changes of the networks. Thirty-four long-term USNHL individuals and seventeen normally hearing individuals participated in the test, and all USNHL patients had acquired deafness. We found that certain brain regions of the sensorimotor and visual networks presented enhanced synchronous output entropy connectivity with the left primary auditory cortex in the left long-term USNHL individuals as compared with normally hearing individuals. Especially, the left USNHL showed more significant changes of entropy connectivity than the right USNHL. No significant plastic changes were observed in the right USNHL. Our results indicate that the left primary auditory cortex (non-auditory-deprived cortex) in patients with left USNHL has been reorganized by visual and sensorimotor modalities through cross-modal plasticity. Furthermore, the cross-modal reorganization also alters the directional brain functional networks. The auditory deprivation from the left or right side generates different influences on the human brain. PMID:26621123

  9. Interactions between environmental changes and brain plasticity in birds.

    PubMed

    Barnea, Anat

    2009-09-01

    Neurogenesis and neuronal recruitment occur in many vertebrates, including humans. Most of the new neurons die before reaching their destination. Those which survive migrate to various brain regions, replace older ones and connect to existing circuits. Evidence suggests that this replacement is related to acquisition of new information. Therefore, neuronal replacement can be seen as a form of brain plasticity that enables organisms to adjust to environmental changes. However, direct evidence of a causal link between replacement and learning remains elusive. Our hypothesis is that increased neuronal recruitment is associated with increase in memory load. Moreover, since neuronal recruitment is part of a turnover process, we assume that the same conditions that favor survival of some neurons induce the death of others. I present studies that investigated the effect of various behaviors and environmental conditions (food-hoarding, social change, reproductive cycle) on neuronal recruitment and survival in adult avian brains, and discuss how these phenomena relate to the life of animals. I offer a frame and rationale for comparing neuronal replacement in the adult brain, in order to uncover the pressures, rules, and mechanisms that govern its constant rejuvenation. The review emphasizes the importance of using various approaches (behavioral, anatomical, cellular and hormonal) in neuroethological research, and the need to study natural populations, in order to fully understand how neurogenesis and neuronal replacement contribute to life of animals. Finally, the review indicates to future directions and ends with the hope that a better understanding of adult neuronal replacement will lead to medical applications. PMID:19361509

  10. Neural Plastic Effects of Cognitive Training on Aging Brain

    PubMed Central

    Leung, Natalie T. Y.; Tam, Helena M. K.; Chu, Leung W.; Kwok, Timothy C. Y.; Chan, Felix; Lam, Linda C. W.; Woo, Jean; Lee, Tatia M. C.

    2015-01-01

    Increasing research has evidenced that our brain retains a capacity to change in response to experience until late adulthood. This implies that cognitive training can possibly ameliorate age-associated cognitive decline by inducing training-specific neural plastic changes at both neural and behavioral levels. This longitudinal study examined the behavioral effects of a systematic thirteen-week cognitive training program on attention and working memory of older adults who were at risk of cognitive decline. These older adults were randomly assigned to the Cognitive Training Group (n = 109) and the Active Control Group (n = 100). Findings clearly indicated that training induced improvement in auditory and visual-spatial attention and working memory. The training effect was specific to the experience provided because no significant difference in verbal and visual-spatial memory between the two groups was observed. This pattern of findings is consistent with the prediction and the principle of experience-dependent neuroplasticity. Findings of our study provided further support to the notion that the neural plastic potential continues until older age. The baseline cognitive status did not correlate with pre- versus posttraining changes to any cognitive variables studied, suggesting that the initial cognitive status may not limit the neuroplastic potential of the brain at an old age. PMID:26417460

  11. Indestructible plastic: the neuroscience of the new aging brain

    PubMed Central

    Holman, Constance; de Villers-Sidani, Etienne

    2014-01-01

    In recent years, research on experience-dependent plasticity has provided valuable insight on adaptation to environmental input across the lifespan, and advances in understanding the minute cellular changes underlying the brain’s capacity for self-reorganization have opened exciting new possibilities for treating illness and injury. Ongoing work in this line of inquiry has also come to deeply influence another field: cognitive neuroscience of the normal aging. This complex process, once considered inevitable or beyond the reach of treatment, has been transformed into an arena of intense investigation and strategic intervention. However, important questions remain about this characterization of the aging brain, and the assumptions it makes about the social, cultural, and biological space occupied by cognition in the older individual and body. The following paper will provide a critical examination of the move from basic experiments on the neurophysiology of experience-dependent plasticity to the growing market for (and public conception of) cognitive aging as a medicalized space for intervention by neuroscience-backed technologies. Entangled with changing concepts of normality, pathology, and self-preservation, we will argue that this new understanding, led by personalized cognitive training strategies, is approaching a point where interdisciplinary research is crucial to provide a holistic and nuanced understanding of the aging process. This new outlook will allow us to move forward in a space where our knowledge, like our new conception of the brain, is never static. PMID:24782746

  12. [Components of plastic disrupt the function of the nervous system].

    PubMed

    Szychowski, Konrad Andrzej; Wójtowicz, Anna Katarzyna

    2013-01-01

    Development of the chemical industry leads to the development of new chemical compounds, which naturally do not exist in the environment. These chemicals are used to reduce flammability, increase plasticity, or improve solubility of other substances. Many of these compounds, which are components of plastic, the new generation of cosmetics, medical devices, food packaging and other everyday products, are easily released into the environment. Many studies have shown that a major lipophilicity characterizes substances such as phthalates, BPA, TBBPA and PCBs. This feature allows them to easily penetrate into living cells, accumulate in the tissues and the organs, and affect human and animal health. Due to the chemical structures, these compounds are able to mimic some endogenous hormones such as estradiol and to disrupt the hormone homeostasis. They can also easily pass the placental barrier and the blood-brain barrier. As numerous studies have shown, these chemicals disturb the proper functions of the nervous system from the earliest moments of life. It has been proven that these compounds affect neurogenesis as well as the synaptic transmission process. As a consequence, they interfere with the formation of the sex of the brain, as well as with the learning processes, memory and behavior. Additionally, the cytotoxic and pro-apoptotic effect may cause neurodegenerative diseases. This article presents the current state of knowledge about the effects of phthalates, BPA, TBBPA, and PCBs on the nervous system. PMID:23752602

  13. Bridging animal and human models of exercise-induced brain plasticity

    PubMed Central

    Voss, Michelle W.; Vivar, Carmen; Kramer, Arthur F.; van Praag, Henriette

    2015-01-01

    Significant progress has been made in understanding the neurobiological mechanisms through which exercise protects and restores the brain. In this feature review, we integrate animal and human research, examining physical activity effects across multiple levels of description (neurons up to inter-regional pathways). We evaluate the influence of exercise on hippocampal structure and function, addressing common themes such as spatial memory and pattern separation, brain structure and plasticity, neurotrophic factors, and vasculature. Areas of research focused more within species, such as hippocampal neurogenesis in rodents, also provide crucial insight into the protective role of physical activity. Overall, converging evidence suggests exercise benefits brain function and cognition across the mammalian lifespan, which may translate into reduced risk for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in humans. PMID:24029446

  14. Brain composition in Heliconius butterflies, posteclosion growth and experience-dependent neuropil plasticity.

    PubMed

    Montgomery, Stephen H; Merrill, Richard M; Ott, Swidbert R

    2016-06-15

    Behavioral and sensory adaptations are often reflected in the differential expansion of brain components. These volumetric differences represent changes in cell number, size, and/or connectivity, which may denote changes in the functional and evolutionary relationships between different brain regions, and between brain composition and behavioral ecology. Here we describe the brain composition of two species of Heliconius butterflies, a long-standing study system for investigating ecological adaptation and speciation. We confirm a previous report of a striking volumetric expansion of the mushroom body, and explore patterns of differential posteclosion and experience-dependent plasticity between different brain regions. This analysis uncovers age- and experience-dependent posteclosion mushroom body growth comparable to that in foraging Hymenoptera, but also identifies plasticity in several other neuropils. An interspecific analysis indicates that Heliconius display a remarkably large investment in mushroom bodies for a lepidopteran, and indeed rank highly compared to other insects. Our analyses lay the foundation for future comparative and experimental analyses that will establish Heliconius as a valuable case study in evolutionary neurobiology. PMID:26918905

  15. Extracellular proteolysis in structural and functional plasticity of mossy fiber synapses in hippocampus

    PubMed Central

    Wiera, Grzegorz; Mozrzymas, Jerzy W.

    2015-01-01

    Brain is continuously altered in response to experience and environmental changes. One of the underlying mechanisms is synaptic plasticity, which is manifested by modification of synapse structure and function. It is becoming clear that regulated extracellular proteolysis plays a pivotal role in the structural and functional remodeling of synapses during brain development, learning and memory formation. Clearly, plasticity mechanisms may substantially differ between projections. Mossy fiber synapses onto CA3 pyramidal cells display several unique functional features, including pronounced short-term facilitation, a presynaptically expressed long-term potentiation (LTP) that is independent of NMDAR activation, and NMDA-dependent metaplasticity. Moreover, structural plasticity at mossy fiber synapses ranges from the reorganization of projection topology after hippocampus-dependent learning, through intrinsically different dynamic properties of synaptic boutons to pre- and postsynaptic structural changes accompanying LTP induction. Although concomitant functional and structural plasticity in this pathway strongly suggests a role of extracellular proteolysis, its impact only starts to be investigated in this projection. In the present report, we review the role of extracellular proteolysis in various aspects of synaptic plasticity in hippocampal mossy fiber synapses. A growing body of evidence demonstrates that among perisynaptic proteases, tissue plasminogen activator (tPA)/plasmin system, β-site amyloid precursor protein-cleaving enzyme 1 (BACE1) and metalloproteinases play a crucial role in shaping plastic changes in this projection. We discuss recent advances and emerging hypotheses on the roles of proteases in mechanisms underlying mossy fiber target specific synaptic plasticity and memory formation. PMID:26582976

  16. Length of Acupuncture Training and Structural Plastic Brain Changes in Professional Acupuncturists

    PubMed Central

    Dong, Minghao; Zhao, Ling; Yuan, Kai; Zeng, Fang; Sun, Jinbo; Liu, Jixin; Yu, Dahua; von Deneen, Karen M.; Liang, Fanrong; Qin, Wei; Tian, Jie

    2013-01-01

    Background The research on brain plasticity has fascinated researchers for decades. Use/training serves as an instrumental factor to influence brain neuroplasticity. Parallel to acquisition of behavioral expertise, extensive use/training is concomitant with substantial changes of cortical structure. Acupuncturists, serving as a model par excellence to study tactile-motor and emotional regulation plasticity, receive intensive training in national medical schools following standardized training protocol. Moreover, their behavioral expertise is corroborated during long-term clinical practice. Although our previous study reported functional plastic brain changes in the acupuncturists, whether or not structural plastic changes occurred in acupuncturists is yet elusive. Methodology/Principal Findings Cohorts of acupuncturists (N = 22) and non-acupuncturists (N = 22) were recruited. Behavioral tests were delivered to assess the acupuncturists’ behavioral expertise. The results confirmed acupuncturists’ tactile-motor skills and emotion regulation proficiency compared to non-acupuncturists. Using the voxel-based morphometry technique, we revealed larger grey matter volumes in acupuncturists in the hand representation of the contralateral primary somatosensory cortex (SI), the right lobule V/VI and the bilateral ventral anterior cingulate cortex/ventral medial prefrontal cortex. Grey matter volumes of the SI and Lobule V/VI positively correlated with the duration of acupuncture practice. Conclusions To our best knowledge, this study provides first evidence for the anatomical alterations in acupuncturists, which would possibly be the neural correlates underlying acupuncturists’ exceptional skills. On one hand, we suggest our findings may have ramifications for tactile-motor rehabilitation. On the other hand, our results in emotion regulation domain may serve as a target for our future studies, from which we can understand how modulations of aversive emotions

  17. Natriuretic Hormones in Brain Function

    PubMed Central

    Hodes, Anastasia; Lichtstein, David

    2014-01-01

    Natriuretic hormones (NH) include three groups of compounds: the natriuretic peptides (ANP, BNP and CNP), the gastrointestinal peptides (guanylin and uroguanylin), and endogenous cardiac steroids. These substances induce the kidney to excrete sodium and therefore participate in the regulation of sodium and water homeostasis, blood volume, and blood pressure (BP). In addition to their peripheral functions, these hormones act as neurotransmitters or neuromodulators in the brain. In this review, the established information on the biosynthesis, release and function of NH is discussed, with particular focus on their role in brain function. The available literature on the expression patterns of each of the NH and their receptors in the brain is summarized, followed by the evidence for their roles in modulating brain function. Although numerous open questions exist regarding this issue, the available data support the notion that NH participate in the central regulation of BP, neuroprotection, satiety, and various psychiatric conditions, including anxiety, addiction, and depressive disorders. In addition, the interactions between the different NH in the periphery and the brain are discussed. PMID:25506340

  18. Building a brain under nutritional restriction: insights on sparing and plasticity from Drosophila studies

    PubMed Central

    Lanet, Elodie; Maurange, Cédric

    2014-01-01

    While the growth of the developing brain is known to be well-protected compared to other organs in the face of nutrient restriction (NR), careful analysis has revealed a range of structural alterations and long-term neurological defects. Yet, despite intensive studies, little is known about the basic principles that govern brain development under nutrient deprivation. For over 20 years, Drosophila has proved to be a useful model for investigating how a functional nervous system develops from a restricted number of neural stem cells (NSCs). Recently, a few studies have started to uncover molecular mechanisms as well as region-specific adaptive strategies that preserve brain functionality and neuronal repertoire under NR, while modulating neuron numbers. Here, we review the developmental constraints that condition the response of the developing brain to NR. We then analyze the recent Drosophila work to highlight key principles that drive sparing and plasticity in different regions of the central nervous system (CNS). As simple animal models start to build a more integrated picture, understanding how the developing brain copes with NR could help in defining strategies to limit damage and improve brain recovery after birth. PMID:24723892

  19. Chronic pain: The role of learning and brain plasticity

    PubMed Central

    Mansour, A.R.; Farmer, M.A.; Baliki, M.N.; Apkarian, A. Vania

    2016-01-01

    Based on theoretical considerations and recent observations, we argue that continued suffering of chronic pain is critically dependent on the state of motivational and emotional mesolimbic-prefrontal circuitry of the brain. The plastic changes that occur within this circuitry in relation to nociceptive inputs dictate the transition to chronic pain, rendering the pain less somatic and more affective in nature. This theoretical construct is a strong departure from the traditional scientific view of pain, which has focused on encoding and representation of nociceptive signals. We argue that the definition of chronic pain can be recast, within the associative learning and valuation concept, as an inability to extinguish the associated memory trace, implying that supraspinal/cortical manipulations may be a more fruitful venue for adequately modulating suffering and related behavior for chronic pain. We briefly review the evidence generated to date for the proposed model and emphasize that the details of underlying mechanisms remain to be expounded. PMID:23603439

  20. Transsynaptic trophic effects of steroid hormones in an avian model of adult brain plasticity

    PubMed Central

    Brenowitz, Eliot A.

    2014-01-01

    The avian song control system provides an excellent model for studying transsynaptic trophic effects of steroid sex hormones. Seasonal changes in systemic testosterone (T) and its metabolites regulate plasticity of this system. Steroids interact with the neurotrophin brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) to influence cellular processes of plasticity in nucleus HVC of adult birds, including the addition of newborn neurons. This interaction may also occur transsynpatically; T increases the synthesis of BDNF in HVC, and BDNF protein is then released by HVC neurons on to postsynaptic cells in nucleus RA where it has trophic effects on activity and morphology. Androgen action on RA neurons increases their activity and this has a retrograde trophic effect on the addition of new neurons to HVC. The functional linkage of sex steroids to BDNF may be of adaptive value in regulating the trophic effects of the neurotrophin and coordinating circuit function in reproductively relevant contexts. PMID:25285401

  1. Musical training influences linguistic abilities in 8-year-old children: more evidence for brain plasticity.

    PubMed

    Moreno, Sylvain; Marques, Carlos; Santos, Andreia; Santos, Manuela; Castro, São Luís; Besson, Mireille

    2009-03-01

    We conducted a longitudinal study with 32 nonmusician children over 9 months to determine 1) whether functional differences between musician and nonmusician children reflect specific predispositions for music or result from musical training and 2) whether musical training improves nonmusical brain functions such as reading and linguistic pitch processing. Event-related brain potentials were recorded while 8-year-old children performed tasks designed to test the hypothesis that musical training improves pitch processing not only in music but also in speech. Following the first testing sessions nonmusician children were pseudorandomly assigned to music or to painting training for 6 months and were tested again after training using the same tests. After musical (but not painting) training, children showed enhanced reading and pitch discrimination abilities in speech. Remarkably, 6 months of musical training thus suffices to significantly improve behavior and to influence the development of neural processes as reflected in specific pattern of brain waves. These results reveal positive transfer from music to speech and highlight the influence of musical training. Finally, they demonstrate brain plasticity in showing that relatively short periods of training have strong consequences on the functional organization of the children's brain. PMID:18832336

  2. Seasonal regulation of structural plasticity and neurogenesis in the adult mammalian brain: focus on the sheep hypothalamus.

    PubMed

    Migaud, Martine; Butrille, Lucile; Batailler, Martine

    2015-04-01

    To cope with variations in the environment, most mammalian species exhibit seasonal cycles in physiology and behaviour. Seasonal plasticity during the lifetime contributes to seasonal physiology. Over the years, our ideas regarding adult brain plasticity and, more specifically, hypothalamic plasticity have greatly evolved. Along with the two main neurogenic regions, namely the hippocampal subgranular and lateral ventricle subventricular zones, the hypothalamus, which is the central homeostatic regulator of numerous physiological functions that comprise sexual behaviours, feeding and metabolism, also hosts neurogenic niches. Both endogenous and exogenous factors, including the photoperiod, modulate the hypothalamic neurogenic capacities. The present review describes the effects of season on adult morphological plasticity and neurogenesis in seasonal species, for which the photoperiod is a master environmental cue for the successful programming of seasonal functions. In addition, the potential functional significance of adult neurogenesis in the mediation of the seasonal control of reproduction and feeding is discussed. PMID:25462590

  3. Training-induced behavioral and brain plasticity in inhibitory control

    PubMed Central

    Spierer, Lucas; Chavan, Camille F.; Manuel, Aurelie L.

    2013-01-01

    Deficits in inhibitory control, the ability to suppress ongoing or planned motor or cognitive processes, contribute to many psychiatric and neurological disorders. The rehabilitation of inhibition-related disorders may therefore benefit from neuroplasticity-based training protocols aiming at normalizing inhibitory control proficiency and the underlying brain networks. Current literature on training-induced behavioral and brain plasticity in inhibitory control suggests that improvements may follow either from the development of automatic forms of inhibition or from the strengthening of top-down, controlled inhibition. Automatic inhibition develops in conditions of consistent and repeated associations between inhibition-triggering stimuli and stopping goals. Once established, the stop signals directly elicit inhibition, thereby bypassing slow, top-down executive control and accelerating stopping processes. In contrast, training regimens involving varying stimulus-response associations or frequent inhibition failures prevent the development of automatic inhibition and thus strengthen top-down inhibitory processes rather than bottom-up ones. We discuss these findings in terms of developing optimal inhibitory control training regimens for rehabilitation purposes. PMID:23914169

  4. PET-imaging of brain plasticity after cochlear implantation.

    PubMed

    Strelnikov, K; Marx, M; Lagleyre, S; Fraysse, B; Deguine, O; Barone, P

    2015-04-01

    In this article, we review the PET neuroimaging literature, which indicates peculiarities of brain networks involved in speech restoration after cochlear implantation. We consider data on implanted patients during stimulation as well as during resting state, which indicates basic long-term reorganisation of brain functional architecture. On the basis of our analysis of neuroimaging literature and considering our own studies, we indicate that auditory recovery in deaf patients after cochlear implantation partly relies on visual cues. The brain develops mechanisms of audio-visual integration as a strategy to achieve high levels of speech recognition. It turns out that this neuroimaging evidence is in line with behavioural findings of better audiovisual integration in these patients. Thus, strong visually and audio-visually based rehabilitation during the first months after cochlear implantation would significantly improve and fasten the functional recovery of speech intelligibility and other auditory functions in these patients. We provide perspectives for further neuroimaging studies in cochlear implanted patients, which would help understand brain organisation to restore auditory cognitive processing in the implanted patients and would potentially suggest novel approaches for their rehabilitation. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled . PMID:25448166

  5. Sleep, Plasticity and Memory from Molecules to Whole-Brain Networks

    PubMed Central

    Abel, Ted; Havekes, Robbert; Saletin, Jared M.; Walker, Matthew P.

    2014-01-01

    Despite the ubiquity of sleep across phylogeny, its function remains elusive. In this review, we consider one compelling candidate: brain plasticity associated with memory processing. Focusing largely on hippocampus-dependent memory in rodents and humans, we describe molecular, cellular, network, whole-brain and behavioral evidence establishing a role for sleep both in preparation for initial memory encoding, and in the subsequent offline consolidation ofmemory. Sleep and sleep deprivation bidirectionally alter molecular signaling pathways that regulate synaptic strength and control plasticity-related gene transcription and protein translation. At the cellular level, sleep deprivation impairs cellular excitability necessary for inducing synaptic potentiation and accelerates the decay of long-lasting forms of synaptic plasticity. In contrast, NREM and REM sleep enhance previously induced synaptic potentiation, although synaptic de-potentiation during sleep has also been observed. Beyond single cell dynamics, large-scale cell ensembles express coordinated replay of prior learning-related firing patterns during subsequent sleep. This occurs in the hippocampus, in the cortex, and between the hippocampus and cortex, commonly in association with specific NREM sleep oscillations. At the whole-brain level, somewhat analogous learning-associated hippocampal (re)activation during NREM sleep has been reported in humans. Moreover, the same cortical NREM oscillations associated with replay in rodents also promote human hippocampal memory consolidation, and this process can be manipulated using exogenous reactivation cues during sleep. Mirroring molecular findings in rodents, specific NREM sleep oscillations before encoding refresh human hippocampal learning capacity, while deprivation of sleep conversely impairs subsequent hippocampal activity and associated encoding. Together, these cross-descriptive level findings demonstrate that the unique neurobiology of sleep exert

  6. Immune dysregulation and cognitive vulnerability in the aging brain: Interactions of microglia, IL-1β, BDNF and synaptic plasticity.

    PubMed

    Patterson, Susan L

    2015-09-01

    Older individuals often experience declines in cognitive function after events (e.g. infection, or injury) that trigger activation of the immune system. This occurs at least in part because aging sensitizes the response of microglia (the brain's resident immune cells) to signals triggered by an immune challenge. In the aging brain, microglia respond to these signals by producing more pro-inflammatory cytokines (e.g. interleukin-1beta or IL-1β) and producing them for longer than microglia in younger brains. This exaggerated inflammatory response can compromise processes critical for optimal cognitive functioning. Interleukin-1β is central to the inflammatory response and is a key mediator and modulator of an array of associated biological functions; thus its production and release is usually very tightly regulated. This review will focus on the impact of dysregulated production of IL-1β on hippocampus dependent-memory systems and associated synaptic plasticity processes. The neurotrophin brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BNDF) helps to protect neurons from damage caused by infection or injury, and it plays a critical role in many of the same memory and hippocampal plasticity processes compromised by dysregulated production of IL-1β. This suggests that an exaggerated brain inflammatory response, arising from aging and a secondary immune challenge, may erode the capacity to provide the BDNF needed for memory-related plasticity processes at hippocampal synapses. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled 'Neuroimmunology and Synaptic Function'. PMID:25549562

  7. Emerging roles of non-coding RNAs in brain evolution, development, plasticity and disease

    PubMed Central

    Qureshi, Irfan A.; Mehler, Mark F.

    2012-01-01

    Novel classes of small and long non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) are being characterized at a rapid pace, driven by recent paradigm shifts in our understanding of genomic architecture, regulation and transcriptional output, as well as by innovations in sequencing technologies and computational and systems biology. These ncRNAs can interact with DNA, RNA and protein molecules; engage in diverse structural, functional and regulatory activities; and have roles in nuclear organization and transcriptional, post-transcriptional and epigenetic processes. This expanding inventory of ncRNAs is implicated in mediating a broad spectrum of processes including brain evolution, development, synaptic plasticity and disease pathogenesis. PMID:22814587

  8. Physical exercise in overweight to obese individuals induces metabolic- and neurotrophic-related structural brain plasticity

    PubMed Central

    Mueller, Karsten; Möller, Harald E.; Horstmann, Annette; Busse, Franziska; Lepsien, Jöran; Blüher, Matthias; Stumvoll, Michael; Villringer, Arno; Pleger, Burkhard

    2015-01-01

    Previous cross-sectional studies on body-weight-related alterations in brain structure revealed profound changes in the gray matter (GM) and white matter (WM) that resemble findings obtained from individuals with advancing age. This suggests that obesity may lead to structural brain changes that are comparable with brain aging. Here, we asked whether weight-loss-dependent improved metabolic and neurotrophic functioning parallels the reversal of obesity-related alterations in brain structure. To this end we applied magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) together with voxel-based morphometry and diffusion-tensor imaging in overweight to obese individuals who participated in a fitness course with intensive physical training twice a week over a period of 3 months. After the fitness course, participants presented, with inter-individual heterogeneity, a reduced body mass index (BMI), reduced serum leptin concentrations, elevated high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C), and alterations of serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) concentrations suggesting changes of metabolic and neurotrophic function. Exercise-dependent changes in BMI and serum concentration of BDNF, leptin, and HDL-C were related to an increase in GM density in the left hippocampus, the insular cortex, and the left cerebellar lobule. We also observed exercise-dependent changes of diffusivity parameters in surrounding WM structures as well as in the corpus callosum. These findings suggest that weight-loss due to physical exercise in overweight to obese participants induces profound structural brain plasticity, not primarily of sensorimotor brain regions involved in physical exercise, but of regions previously reported to be structurally affected by an increased body weight and functionally implemented in gustation and cognitive processing. PMID:26190989

  9. Sex Hormones Regulate Cytoskeletal Proteins Involved in Brain Plasticity

    PubMed Central

    Hansberg-Pastor, Valeria; González-Arenas, Aliesha; Piña-Medina, Ana Gabriela; Camacho-Arroyo, Ignacio

    2015-01-01

    In the brain of female mammals, including humans, a number of physiological and behavioral changes occur as a result of sex hormone exposure. Estradiol and progesterone regulate several brain functions, including learning and memory. Sex hormones contribute to shape the central nervous system by modulating the formation and turnover of the interconnections between neurons as well as controlling the function of glial cells. The dynamics of neuron and glial cells morphology depends on the cytoskeleton and its associated proteins. Cytoskeletal proteins are necessary to form neuronal dendrites and dendritic spines, as well as to regulate the diverse functions in astrocytes. The expression pattern of proteins, such as actin, microtubule-associated protein 2, Tau, and glial fibrillary acidic protein, changes in a tissue-specific manner in the brain, particularly when variations in sex hormone levels occur during the estrous or menstrual cycles or pregnancy. Here, we review the changes in structure and organization of neurons and glial cells that require the participation of cytoskeletal proteins whose expression and activity are regulated by estradiol and progesterone. PMID:26635640

  10. Sex Hormones Regulate Cytoskeletal Proteins Involved in Brain Plasticity.

    PubMed

    Hansberg-Pastor, Valeria; González-Arenas, Aliesha; Piña-Medina, Ana Gabriela; Camacho-Arroyo, Ignacio

    2015-01-01

    In the brain of female mammals, including humans, a number of physiological and behavioral changes occur as a result of sex hormone exposure. Estradiol and progesterone regulate several brain functions, including learning and memory. Sex hormones contribute to shape the central nervous system by modulating the formation and turnover of the interconnections between neurons as well as controlling the function of glial cells. The dynamics of neuron and glial cells morphology depends on the cytoskeleton and its associated proteins. Cytoskeletal proteins are necessary to form neuronal dendrites and dendritic spines, as well as to regulate the diverse functions in astrocytes. The expression pattern of proteins, such as actin, microtubule-associated protein 2, Tau, and glial fibrillary acidic protein, changes in a tissue-specific manner in the brain, particularly when variations in sex hormone levels occur during the estrous or menstrual cycles or pregnancy. Here, we review the changes in structure and organization of neurons and glial cells that require the participation of cytoskeletal proteins whose expression and activity are regulated by estradiol and progesterone. PMID:26635640

  11. Effects of non-pharmacological or pharmacological interventions on cognition and brain plasticity of aging individuals.

    PubMed

    Pieramico, Valentina; Esposito, Roberto; Cesinaro, Stefano; Frazzini, Valerio; Sensi, Stefano L

    2014-01-01

    Brain aging and aging-related neurodegenerative disorders are major health challenges faced by modern societies. Brain aging is associated with cognitive and functional decline and represents the favourable background for the onset and development of dementia. Brain aging is associated with early and subtle anatomo-functional physiological changes that often precede the appearance of clinical signs of cognitive decline. Neuroimaging approaches unveiled the functional correlates of these alterations and helped in the identification of therapeutic targets that can be potentially useful in counteracting age-dependent cognitive decline. A growing body of evidence supports the notion that cognitive stimulation and aerobic training can preserve and enhance operational skills in elderly individuals as well as reduce the incidence of dementia. This review aims at providing an extensive and critical overview of the most recent data that support the efficacy of non-pharmacological and pharmacological interventions aimed at enhancing cognition and brain plasticity in healthy elderly individuals as well as delaying the cognitive decline associated with dementia. PMID:25228860

  12. Effects of non-pharmacological or pharmacological interventions on cognition and brain plasticity of aging individuals

    PubMed Central

    Pieramico, Valentina; Esposito, Roberto; Cesinaro, Stefano; Frazzini, Valerio; Sensi, Stefano L.

    2014-01-01

    Brain aging and aging-related neurodegenerative disorders are major health challenges faced by modern societies. Brain aging is associated with cognitive and functional decline and represents the favourable background for the onset and development of dementia. Brain aging is associated with early and subtle anatomo-functional physiological changes that often precede the appearance of clinical signs of cognitive decline. Neuroimaging approaches unveiled the functional correlates of these alterations and helped in the identification of therapeutic targets that can be potentially useful in counteracting age-dependent cognitive decline. A growing body of evidence supports the notion that cognitive stimulation and aerobic training can preserve and enhance operational skills in elderly individuals as well as reduce the incidence of dementia. This review aims at providing an extensive and critical overview of the most recent data that support the efficacy of non-pharmacological and pharmacological interventions aimed at enhancing cognition and brain plasticity in healthy elderly individuals as well as delaying the cognitive decline associated with dementia. PMID:25228860

  13. Maladaptive Plasticity in Aphasia: Brain Activation Maps Underlying Verb Retrieval Errors

    PubMed Central

    Durand, Edith; Marcotte, Karine; Ansaldo, Ana Inés

    2016-01-01

    Anomia, or impaired word retrieval, is the most widespread symptom of aphasia, an acquired language impairment secondary to brain damage. In the last decades, functional neuroimaging techniques have enabled studying the neural basis underlying anomia and its recovery. The present study aimed to explore maladaptive plasticity in persistent verb anomia, in three male participants with chronic nonfluent aphasia. Brain activation maps associated with semantic verb paraphasia occurring within an oral picture-naming task were identified with an event-related fMRI paradigm. These maps were compared with those obtained in our previous study examining adaptive plasticity (i.e., successful verb naming) in the same participants. The results show that activation patterns related to semantic verb paraphasia and successful verb naming comprise a number of common areas, contributing to both maladaptive and adaptive neuroplasticity mechanisms. This finding suggests that the segregation of brain areas provides only a partial view of the neural basis of verb anomia and successful verb naming. Therefore, it indicates the importance of network approaches which may better capture the complexity of maladaptive and adaptive neuroplasticity mechanisms in anomia recovery. PMID:27429808

  14. Maladaptive Plasticity in Aphasia: Brain Activation Maps Underlying Verb Retrieval Errors.

    PubMed

    Spielmann, Kerstin; Durand, Edith; Marcotte, Karine; Ansaldo, Ana Inés

    2016-01-01

    Anomia, or impaired word retrieval, is the most widespread symptom of aphasia, an acquired language impairment secondary to brain damage. In the last decades, functional neuroimaging techniques have enabled studying the neural basis underlying anomia and its recovery. The present study aimed to explore maladaptive plasticity in persistent verb anomia, in three male participants with chronic nonfluent aphasia. Brain activation maps associated with semantic verb paraphasia occurring within an oral picture-naming task were identified with an event-related fMRI paradigm. These maps were compared with those obtained in our previous study examining adaptive plasticity (i.e., successful verb naming) in the same participants. The results show that activation patterns related to semantic verb paraphasia and successful verb naming comprise a number of common areas, contributing to both maladaptive and adaptive neuroplasticity mechanisms. This finding suggests that the segregation of brain areas provides only a partial view of the neural basis of verb anomia and successful verb naming. Therefore, it indicates the importance of network approaches which may better capture the complexity of maladaptive and adaptive neuroplasticity mechanisms in anomia recovery. PMID:27429808

  15. Genetic Mapping of Brain Plasticity Across Development in Williams Syndrome: ERP Markers of Face and Language Processing

    PubMed Central

    Mills, D. L.; Dai, L.; Fishman, I.; Yam, A.; Appelbaum, L. G.; Galaburda, A.; Bellugi, U.; Korenberg, J. R.

    2014-01-01

    In Williams Syndrome (WS), a known genetic deletion results in atypical brain function with strengths in face and language processing. We examined how genetic influences on brain activity change with development. In three studies, ERPs from large samples of children, adolescents, and adults with the full genetic deletion for WS were compared to typically developing controls, and two adults with partial deletions for WS. Studies 1 and 2 identified ERP markers of brain plasticity in WS across development. Study 3 suggested that in adults with partial deletions for WS, specific genes may be differentially implicated in face and language processing. PMID:24219698

  16. A voxelwise approach to determine consensus regions-of-interest for the study of brain network plasticity.

    PubMed

    Rajtmajer, Sarah M; Roy, Arnab; Albert, Reka; Molenaar, Peter C M; Hillary, Frank G

    2015-01-01

    Despite exciting advances in the functional imaging of the brain, it remains a challenge to define regions of interest (ROIs) that do not require investigator supervision and permit examination of change in networks over time (or plasticity). Plasticity is most readily examined by maintaining ROIs constant via seed-based and anatomical-atlas based techniques, but these approaches are not data-driven, requiring definition based on prior experience (e.g., choice of seed-region, anatomical landmarks). These approaches are limiting especially when functional connectivity may evolve over time in areas that are finer than known anatomical landmarks or in areas outside predetermined seeded regions. An ideal method would permit investigators to study network plasticity due to learning, maturation effects, or clinical recovery via multiple time point data that can be compared to one another in the same ROI while also preserving the voxel-level data in those ROIs at each time point. Data-driven approaches (e.g., whole-brain voxelwise approaches) ameliorate concerns regarding investigator bias, but the fundamental problem of comparing the results between distinct data sets remains. In this paper we propose an approach, aggregate-initialized label propagation (AILP), which allows for data at separate time points to be compared for examining developmental processes resulting in network change (plasticity). To do so, we use a whole-brain modularity approach to parcellate the brain into anatomically constrained functional modules at separate time points and then apply the AILP algorithm to form a consensus set of ROIs for examining change over time. To demonstrate its utility, we make use of a known dataset of individuals with traumatic brain injury sampled at two time points during the first year of recovery and show how the AILP procedure can be applied to select regions of interest to be used in a graph theoretical analysis of plasticity. PMID:26283928

  17. A voxelwise approach to determine consensus regions-of-interest for the study of brain network plasticity

    PubMed Central

    Rajtmajer, Sarah M.; Roy, Arnab; Albert, Reka; Molenaar, Peter C. M.; Hillary, Frank G.

    2015-01-01

    Despite exciting advances in the functional imaging of the brain, it remains a challenge to define regions of interest (ROIs) that do not require investigator supervision and permit examination of change in networks over time (or plasticity). Plasticity is most readily examined by maintaining ROIs constant via seed-based and anatomical-atlas based techniques, but these approaches are not data-driven, requiring definition based on prior experience (e.g., choice of seed-region, anatomical landmarks). These approaches are limiting especially when functional connectivity may evolve over time in areas that are finer than known anatomical landmarks or in areas outside predetermined seeded regions. An ideal method would permit investigators to study network plasticity due to learning, maturation effects, or clinical recovery via multiple time point data that can be compared to one another in the same ROI while also preserving the voxel-level data in those ROIs at each time point. Data-driven approaches (e.g., whole-brain voxelwise approaches) ameliorate concerns regarding investigator bias, but the fundamental problem of comparing the results between distinct data sets remains. In this paper we propose an approach, aggregate-initialized label propagation (AILP), which allows for data at separate time points to be compared for examining developmental processes resulting in network change (plasticity). To do so, we use a whole-brain modularity approach to parcellate the brain into anatomically constrained functional modules at separate time points and then apply the AILP algorithm to form a consensus set of ROIs for examining change over time. To demonstrate its utility, we make use of a known dataset of individuals with traumatic brain injury sampled at two time points during the first year of recovery and show how the AILP procedure can be applied to select regions of interest to be used in a graph theoretical analysis of plasticity. PMID:26283928

  18. Interhemispheric Plasticity Protects the Deafferented Somatosensory Cortex from Functional Takeover After Nerve Injury

    PubMed Central

    Koretsky, Alan P.

    2014-01-01

    Abstract Functional changes across brain hemispheres have been reported after unilateral cortical or peripheral nerve injury. Interhemispheric callosal connections usually underlie this cortico-cortical plasticity. However, the effect of the altered callosal inputs on local cortical plasticity in the adult brain is not well studied. Ipsilateral functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) activation has been reliably detected in the deafferented barrel cortex (BC) at 2 weeks after unilateral infraorbital denervation (IO) in adult rats. The ipsilateral fMRI signal relies on callosal-mediated interhemispheric plasticity. This form of interhemispheric plasticity provides a good chronic model to study the interaction between callosal inputs and local cortical plasticity. The receptive field of forepaw in the primary somatosensory cortex (S1), which is adjacent to the BC, was mapped with fMRI. The S1 receptive field expanded to take over a portion of the BC in 2 weeks after both ascending inputs and callosal inputs were removed in IO rats with ablated contralateral BC (IO+ablation). This expansion, estimated specifically by fMRI mapping, is significantly larger than what has been observed in the IO rats with intact callosal connectivity, as well as in the rats with sham surgery. This work indicates that altered callosal inputs prevent the functional takeover of the deafferented BC from adjacent cortices and may help preserve the functional identity of the BC. PMID:25117691

  19. Understanding entangled cerebral networks: a prerequisite for restoring brain function with brain-computer interfaces

    PubMed Central

    Mandonnet, Emmanuel; Duffau, Hugues

    2014-01-01

    Historically, cerebral processing has been conceptualized as a framework based on statically localized functions. However, a growing amount of evidence supports a hodotopical (delocalized) and flexible organization. A number of studies have reported absence of a permanent neurological deficit after massive surgical resections of eloquent brain tissue. These results highlight the tremendous plastic potential of the brain. Understanding anatomo-functional correlates underlying this cerebral reorganization is a prerequisite to restore brain functions through brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) in patients with cerebral diseases, or even to potentiate brain functions in healthy individuals. Here, we review current knowledge of neural networks that could be utilized in the BCIs that enable movements and language. To this end, intraoperative electrical stimulation in awake patients provides valuable information on the cerebral functional maps, their connectomics and plasticity. Overall, these studies indicate that the complex cerebral circuitry that underpins interactions between action, cognition and behavior should be throughly investigated before progress in BCI approaches can be achieved. PMID:24834030

  20. Water diffusion reveals networks that modulate multiregional morphological plasticity after repetitive brain stimulation

    PubMed Central

    Abe, Mitsunari; Fukuyama, Hidenao; Mima, Tatsuya

    2014-01-01

    Repetitive brain stimulation protocols induce plasticity in the stimulated site in brain slice models. Recent evidence from network models has indicated that additional plasticity-related changes occur in nonstimulated remote regions. Despite increasing use of brain stimulation protocols in experimental and clinical settings, the neural substrates underlying the additional effects in remote regions are unknown. Diffusion-weighted MRI (DWI) probes water diffusion and can be used to estimate morphological changes in cortical tissue that occur with the induction of plasticity. Using DWI techniques, we estimated morphological changes induced by application of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) over the left primary motor cortex (M1). We found that rTMS altered water diffusion in multiple regions including the left M1. Notably, the change in water diffusion was retained longest in the left M1 and remote regions that had a correlation of baseline fluctuations in water diffusion before rTMS. We conclude that synchronization of water diffusion at rest between stimulated and remote regions ensures retention of rTMS-induced changes in water diffusion in remote regions. Synchronized fluctuations in the morphology of cortical microstructures between stimulated and remote regions might identify networks that allow retention of plasticity-related morphological changes in multiple regions after brain stimulation protocols. These results increase our understanding of the effects of brain stimulation-induced plasticity on multiregional brain networks. DWI techniques could provide a tool to evaluate treatment effects of brain stimulation protocols in patients with brain disorders. PMID:24619090

  1. SIRT1 is essential for normal cognitive function and synaptic plasticity

    PubMed Central

    Michán, Shaday; Li, Ying; Chou, Maggie Meng-Hsiu; Parrella, Edoardo; Ge, Huanying; Long, Jeffrey M.; Allard, Joanne S.; Lewis, Kaitlyn; Miller, Marshall; Xu, Wei; Mervis, Ronald F.; Chen, Jing; Guerin, Karen I.; Smith, Lois E. H.; McBurney, Michael W.; Sinclair, David A.; Baudry, Michel; de Cabo, Rafael; Longo, Valter D.

    2010-01-01

    Conservation of normal cognitive functions relies on the proper performance of the nervous system at the cellular and molecular level. The mammalian NAD+-dependent deacetylase, SIRT1, impacts different processes potentially involved in the maintenance of brain integrity such as chromatin remodeling, DNA repair, cell survival and neurogenesis. Here we show that SIRT1 is expressed in neurons of the hippocampus, a key structure in learning and memory. Using a combination of behavioral and electrophysiological paradigms we analyzed the effects of SIRT1 deficiency and overexpression on mouse learning and memory as well as on synaptic plasticity. We demonstrated that the absence of SIRT1 impaired cognitive abilities, including immediate memory, classical conditioning and spatial learning. In addition, we found that the cognitive deficits in SIRT1 knockout mice were associated with defects in synaptic plasticity without alterations in basal synaptic transmission or NMDA receptor function. Brains of SIRT1-KO mice exhibited normal morphology and dendritic spine structure but display a decrease in dendritic branching, branch length and complexity of neuronal dendritic arbors. Also, a decrease in ERK1/2 phosphorylation and altered expression of hippocampal genes involved in synaptic function, lipid metabolism and myelination were detected in SIRT1-KO mice. In contrast, mice with high levels of SIRT1 expression in brain exhibited regular synaptic plasticity and memory. We conclude that SIRT1 is indispensable for normal learning, memory and synaptic plasticity in mice. PMID:20660252

  2. Non-invasive Brain Stimulation, a Tool to Revert Maladaptive Plasticity in Neuropathic Pain

    PubMed Central

    Naro, Antonino; Milardi, Demetrio; Russo, Margherita; Terranova, Carmen; Rizzo, Vincenzo; Cacciola, Alberto; Marino, Silvia; Calabro, Rocco S.; Quartarone, Angelo

    2016-01-01

    Neuromodulatory effects of non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) have been extensively studied in chronic pain. A hypothetic mechanism of action would be to prevent or revert the ongoing maladaptive plasticity within the pain matrix. In this review, the authors discuss the mechanisms underlying the development of maladaptive plasticity in patients with chronic pain and the putative mechanisms of NIBS in modulating synaptic plasticity in neuropathic pain conditions. PMID:27512368

  3. Non-invasive Brain Stimulation, a Tool to Revert Maladaptive Plasticity in Neuropathic Pain.

    PubMed

    Naro, Antonino; Milardi, Demetrio; Russo, Margherita; Terranova, Carmen; Rizzo, Vincenzo; Cacciola, Alberto; Marino, Silvia; Calabro, Rocco S; Quartarone, Angelo

    2016-01-01

    Neuromodulatory effects of non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) have been extensively studied in chronic pain. A hypothetic mechanism of action would be to prevent or revert the ongoing maladaptive plasticity within the pain matrix. In this review, the authors discuss the mechanisms underlying the development of maladaptive plasticity in patients with chronic pain and the putative mechanisms of NIBS in modulating synaptic plasticity in neuropathic pain conditions. PMID:27512368

  4. A role for synaptic plasticity in the adolescent development of executive function

    PubMed Central

    Selemon, L D

    2013-01-01

    Adolescent brain maturation is characterized by the emergence of executive function mediated by the prefrontal cortex, e.g., goal planning, inhibition of impulsive behavior and set shifting. Synaptic pruning of excitatory contacts is the signature morphologic event of late brain maturation during adolescence. Mounting evidence suggests that glutamate receptor-mediated synaptic plasticity, in particular long term depression (LTD), is important for elimination of synaptic contacts in brain development. This review examines the possibility (1) that LTD mechanisms are enhanced in the prefrontal cortex during adolescence due to ongoing synaptic pruning in this late developing cortex and (2) that enhanced synaptic plasticity in the prefrontal cortex represents a key molecular substrate underlying the critical period for maturation of executive function. Molecular sites of interaction between environmental factors, such as alcohol and stress, and glutamate receptor mediated plasticity are considered. The accentuated negative impact of these factors during adolescence may be due in part to interference with LTD mechanisms that refine prefrontal cortical circuitry and when disrupted derail normal maturation of executive function. Diminished prefrontal cortical control over risk-taking behavior could further exacerbate negative outcomes associated with these behaviors, as for example addiction and depression. Greater insight into the neurobiology of the adolescent brain is needed to fully understand the molecular basis for heightened vulnerability during adolescence to the injurious effects of substance abuse and stress. PMID:23462989

  5. Wnts in adult brain: from synaptic plasticity to cognitive deficiencies

    PubMed Central

    Oliva, Carolina A.; Vargas, Jessica Y.; Inestrosa, Nibaldo C.

    2013-01-01

    During development of the central nervous system the Wnt signaling pathway has been implicated in a wide spectrum of physiological processes, including neuronal connectivity and synapse formation. Wnt proteins and components of the Wnt pathway are expressed in the brain since early development to the adult life, however, little is known about its role in mature synapses. Here, we review evidences indicating that Wnt proteins participate in the remodeling of pre- and post-synaptic regions, thus modulating synaptic function. We include the most recent data in the literature showing that Wnts are constantly released in the brain to maintain the basal neural activity. Also, we review the evidences that involve components of the Wnt pathway in the development of neurological and mental disorders, including a special emphasis on in vivo studies that relate behavioral abnormalities to deficiencies in Wnt signaling. Finally, we include the evidences that support a neuroprotective role of Wnt proteins in Alzheimer’s disease. We postulate that deregulation in Wnt signaling might have a fundamental role in the origin of neurological diseases, by altering the synaptic function at stages where the phenotype is not yet established but when the cognitive decline starts. PMID:24348327

  6. Dynamic imaging of brain function

    PubMed Central

    Hyder, Fahmeed

    2013-01-01

    In recent years, there have been unprecedented methodological advances in the dynamic imaging of brain activities. Electrophysiological, optical, and magnetic resonance methods now allow mapping of functional activation (or deactivation) by measurement of neuronal activity (e.g., membrane potential, ion flux, neurotransmitter flux), energy metabolism (e.g., glucose consumption, oxygen consumption, creatine kinase flux), and functional hyperemia (e.g., blood oxygenation, blood flow, blood volume). Properties of the glutamatergic synapse are used as a model to reveal activities at the nerve terminal and their associated changes in energy demand and blood flow. This approach reveals that each method measures different tissue- and/or cell-specific components with specified spatiotemporal resolution. While advantages and disadvantages of different methods are apparent and often used to supersede one another in terms of specificity and/or sensitivity, no particular technique is the optimal dynamic brain imaging method because each method is unique in some respect. Because the demand for energy substrates is a fundamental requirement for function, energy-based methods may allow quantitative dynamic imaging in vivo. However there are exclusive neurobiological insights gained by combining some of these different dynamic imaging techniques. PMID:18839085

  7. Functional Plasticity in Somatosensory Cortex Supports Motor Learning by Observing.

    PubMed

    McGregor, Heather R; Cashaback, Joshua G A; Gribble, Paul L

    2016-04-01

    An influential idea in neuroscience is that the sensory-motor system is activated when observing the actions of others [1, 2]. This idea has recently been extended to motor learning, in which observation results in sensory-motor plasticity and behavioral changes in both motor and somatosensory domains [3-9]. However, it is unclear how the brain maps visual information onto motor circuits for learning. Here we test the idea that the somatosensory system, and specifically primary somatosensory cortex (S1), plays a role in motor learning by observing. In experiment 1, we applied stimulation to the median nerve to occupy the somatosensory system with unrelated inputs while participants observed a tutor learning to reach in a force field. Stimulation disrupted motor learning by observing in a limb-specific manner. Stimulation delivered to the right arm (the same arm used by the tutor) disrupted learning, whereas left arm stimulation did not. This is consistent with the idea that a somatosensory representation of the observed effector must be available during observation for learning to occur. In experiment 2, we assessed S1 cortical processing before and after observation by measuring somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs) associated with median nerve stimulation. SEP amplitudes increased only for participants who observed learning. Moreover, SEPs increased more for participants who exhibited greater motor learning following observation. Taken together, these findings support the idea that motor learning by observing relies on functional plasticity in S1. We propose that visual signals about the movements of others are mapped onto motor circuits for learning via the somatosensory system. PMID:26972317

  8. The role of sleep in memory consolidation and brain plasticity: dream or reality?

    PubMed

    Frank, Marcos G; Benington, Joel H

    2006-12-01

    The notion that a good night of sleep improves memory is widely accepted by the general public. Among sleep scientists, however, the idea has been hotly debated for decades. In this review, the authors consider current evidence for and against the hypothesis that sleep facilitates memory consolidation and promotes plastic changes in the brain. They find that despite a steady accumulation of positive findings over the past decade, the precise role of sleep in memory and brain plasticity remains elusive. This impasse may be resolved by more integrated approaches that combine behavioral and neurophysiological measurements in well-described in vivo models of synaptic plasticity. PMID:17079514

  9. Performance enhancement at the cost of potential brain plasticity: neural ramifications of nootropic drugs in the healthy developing brain

    PubMed Central

    Urban, Kimberly R.; Gao, Wen-Jun

    2014-01-01

    Cognitive enhancement is perhaps one of the most intriguing and controversial topics in neuroscience today. Currently, the main classes of drugs used as potential cognitive enhancers include psychostimulants (methylphenidate (MPH), amphetamine), but wakefulness-promoting agents (modafinil) and glutamate activators (ampakine) are also frequently used. Pharmacologically, substances that enhance the components of the memory/learning circuits—dopamine, glutamate (neuronal excitation), and/or norepinephrine—stand to improve brain function in healthy individuals beyond their baseline functioning. In particular, non-medical use of prescription stimulants such as MPH and illicit use of psychostimulants for cognitive enhancement have seen a recent rise among teens and young adults in schools and college campuses. However, this enhancement likely comes with a neuronal, as well as ethical, cost. Altering glutamate function via the use of psychostimulants may impair behavioral flexibility, leading to the development and/or potentiation of addictive behaviors. Furthermore, dopamine and norepinephrine do not display linear effects; instead, their modulation of cognitive and neuronal function maps on an inverted-U curve. Healthy individuals run the risk of pushing themselves beyond optimal levels into hyperdopaminergic and hypernoradrenergic states, thus vitiating the very behaviors they are striving to improve. Finally, recent studies have begun to highlight potential damaging effects of stimulant exposure in healthy juveniles. This review explains how the main classes of cognitive enhancing drugs affect the learning and memory circuits, and highlights the potential risks and concerns in healthy individuals, particularly juveniles and adolescents. We emphasize the performance enhancement at the potential cost of brain plasticity that is associated with the neural ramifications of nootropic drugs in the healthy developing brain. PMID:24860437

  10. Task decomposition: a framework for comparing diverse training models in human brain plasticity studies.

    PubMed

    Coffey, Emily B J; Herholz, Sibylle C

    2013-01-01

    Training studies, in which the structural or functional neurophysiology is compared before and after expertise is acquired, are increasingly being used as models for understanding the human brain's potential for reorganization. It is proving difficult to use these results to answer basic and important questions like how task training leads to both specific and general changes in behavior and how these changes correspond with modifications in the brain. The main culprit is the diversity of paradigms used as complex task models. An assortment of activities ranging from juggling to deciphering Morse code has been reported. Even when working in the same general domain, few researchers use similar training models. New ways to meaningfully compare complex tasks are needed. We propose a method for characterizing and deconstructing the task requirements of complex training paradigms, which is suitable for application to both structural and functional neuroimaging studies. We believe this approach will aid brain plasticity research by making it easier to compare training paradigms, identify "missing puzzle pieces," and encourage researchers to design training protocols to bridge these gaps. PMID:24115927

  11. Motor Skill Acquisition Promotes Human Brain Myelin Plasticity.

    PubMed

    Lakhani, Bimal; Borich, Michael R; Jackson, Jacob N; Wadden, Katie P; Peters, Sue; Villamayor, Anica; MacKay, Alex L; Vavasour, Irene M; Rauscher, Alexander; Boyd, Lara A

    2016-01-01

    Experience-dependent structural changes are widely evident in gray matter. Using diffusion weighted imaging (DWI), the neuroplastic effect of motor training on white matter in the brain has been demonstrated. However, in humans it is not known whether specific features of white matter relate to motor skill acquisition or if these structural changes are associated to functional network connectivity. Myelin can be objectively quantified in vivo and used to index specific experience-dependent change. In the current study, seventeen healthy young adults completed ten sessions of visuomotor skill training (10,000 total movements) using the right arm. Multicomponent relaxation imaging was performed before and after training. Significant increases in myelin water fraction, a quantitative measure of myelin, were observed in task dependent brain regions (left intraparietal sulcus [IPS] and left parieto-occipital sulcus). In addition, the rate of motor skill acquisition and overall change in myelin water fraction in the left IPS were negatively related, suggesting that a slower rate of learning resulted in greater neuroplastic change. This study provides the first evidence for experience-dependent changes in myelin that are associated with changes in skilled movements in healthy young adults. PMID:27293906

  12. Motor Skill Acquisition Promotes Human Brain Myelin Plasticity

    PubMed Central

    Lakhani, Bimal; Borich, Michael R.; Jackson, Jacob N.; Wadden, Katie P.; Peters, Sue; Villamayor, Anica; MacKay, Alex L.; Vavasour, Irene M.; Rauscher, Alexander; Boyd, Lara A.

    2016-01-01

    Experience-dependent structural changes are widely evident in gray matter. Using diffusion weighted imaging (DWI), the neuroplastic effect of motor training on white matter in the brain has been demonstrated. However, in humans it is not known whether specific features of white matter relate to motor skill acquisition or if these structural changes are associated to functional network connectivity. Myelin can be objectively quantified in vivo and used to index specific experience-dependent change. In the current study, seventeen healthy young adults completed ten sessions of visuomotor skill training (10,000 total movements) using the right arm. Multicomponent relaxation imaging was performed before and after training. Significant increases in myelin water fraction, a quantitative measure of myelin, were observed in task dependent brain regions (left intraparietal sulcus [IPS] and left parieto-occipital sulcus). In addition, the rate of motor skill acquisition and overall change in myelin water fraction in the left IPS were negatively related, suggesting that a slower rate of learning resulted in greater neuroplastic change. This study provides the first evidence for experience-dependent changes in myelin that are associated with changes in skilled movements in healthy young adults. PMID:27293906

  13. [Contribution of brain function analysis to the evolution of neurorehabilitation].

    PubMed

    Miyai, Ichiro; Mihara, Masahito; Hattori, Noriaki; Hatakenaka, Megumi; Kawano, Teiji; Yagura, Hajime

    2012-01-01

    Recent studies of functional neuroimaging and clinical neurophysiology have implied that functional recovery after stroke is associated with use-dependent plasticity of the damaged brain. However the property of the reorganized neural network depends on site and size of the lesion, which makes it difficult to assess what the adaptive plasticity is. From clinical point of view there is accumulating randomized controlled trials for the benefit of task-oriented rehabilitative intervention including constraint-induced movement therapy, robotics, and body-weight supported treadmill training. However dose-matched control intervention is usually as effective as a specific intervention. This raises a question regarding the specificity of a task-oriented intervention. Second question is whether such intervention goes beyond the biological destiny of human. Specifically there is no known strategy enhancing recovery of severely impaired hand. To augment functional gain, several methods of neuro-modulation may bring break-through on the assumption that they induce greater adaptive plasticity. Such neuro-modulative methods include neuropharmacological modulation, brain stimulation using transcranial magnetic stimulation and direct current stimulation, peripheral nerve stimulation, neurofeedback using real-time fMRI and real-time fNIRS, and brain-machine interface. A preliminary randomized controlled trial regarding real-time feedback of premotor activities revealed promising results for recovery of paretic hand in patients with stroke. PMID:23196554

  14. Aging and functional brain networks

    SciTech Connect

    Tomasi D.; Tomasi, D.; Volkow, N.D.

    2011-07-11

    Aging is associated with changes in human brain anatomy and function and cognitive decline. Recent studies suggest the aging decline of major functional connectivity hubs in the 'default-mode' network (DMN). Aging effects on other networks, however, are largely unknown. We hypothesized that aging would be associated with a decline of short- and long-range functional connectivity density (FCD) hubs in the DMN. To test this hypothesis, we evaluated resting-state data sets corresponding to 913 healthy subjects from a public magnetic resonance imaging database using functional connectivity density mapping (FCDM), a voxelwise and data-driven approach, together with parallel computing. Aging was associated with pronounced long-range FCD decreases in DMN and dorsal attention network (DAN) and with increases in somatosensory and subcortical networks. Aging effects in these networks were stronger for long-range than for short-range FCD and were also detected at the level of the main functional hubs. Females had higher short- and long-range FCD in DMN and lower FCD in the somatosensory network than males, but the gender by age interaction effects were not significant for any of the networks or hubs. These findings suggest that long-range connections may be more vulnerable to aging effects than short-range connections and that, in addition to the DMN, the DAN is also sensitive to aging effects, which could underlie the deterioration of attention processes that occurs with aging.

  15. Rehabilitative Interventions and Brain Plasticity in Autism Spectrum Disorders: Focus on MRI-Based Studies.

    PubMed

    Calderoni, Sara; Billeci, Lucia; Narzisi, Antonio; Brambilla, Paolo; Retico, Alessandra; Muratori, Filippo

    2016-01-01

    Clinical and research evidence supports the efficacy of rehabilitative intervention for improving targeted skills or global outcomes in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, putative mechanisms of structural and functional brain changes are poorly understood. This review aims to investigate the research literature on the neural circuit modifications after non-pharmacological intervention. For this purpose, longitudinal studies that used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-based techniques at the start and at the end of the trial to evaluate the neural effects of rehabilitative treatment in subjects with ASD were identified. The six included studies involved a limited number of patients in the active group (from 2 to 16), and differed by acquisition method (task-related and resting-state functional MRI) as well as by functional MRI tasks. Overall, the results produced by the selected investigations demonstrated brain plasticity during the treatment interval that results in an activation/functional connectivity more similar to those of subjects with typical development (TD). Repeated MRI evaluation may represent a promising tool for the detection of neural changes in response to treatment in patients with ASD. However, large-scale randomized controlled trials after standardized rehabilitative intervention are required before translating these preliminary results into clinical use. PMID:27065795

  16. Rehabilitative Interventions and Brain Plasticity in Autism Spectrum Disorders: Focus on MRI-Based Studies

    PubMed Central

    Calderoni, Sara; Billeci, Lucia; Narzisi, Antonio; Brambilla, Paolo; Retico, Alessandra; Muratori, Filippo

    2016-01-01

    Clinical and research evidence supports the efficacy of rehabilitative intervention for improving targeted skills or global outcomes in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, putative mechanisms of structural and functional brain changes are poorly understood. This review aims to investigate the research literature on the neural circuit modifications after non-pharmacological intervention. For this purpose, longitudinal studies that used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-based techniques at the start and at the end of the trial to evaluate the neural effects of rehabilitative treatment in subjects with ASD were identified. The six included studies involved a limited number of patients in the active group (from 2 to 16), and differed by acquisition method (task-related and resting-state functional MRI) as well as by functional MRI tasks. Overall, the results produced by the selected investigations demonstrated brain plasticity during the treatment interval that results in an activation/functional connectivity more similar to those of subjects with typical development (TD). Repeated MRI evaluation may represent a promising tool for the detection of neural changes in response to treatment in patients with ASD. However, large-scale randomized controlled trials after standardized rehabilitative intervention are required before translating these preliminary results into clinical use. PMID:27065795

  17. Dolichol alters brain membrane functions

    SciTech Connect

    Sun, G.Y.; Sun, A.Y.; Schroeder, F.; Wood, G.; Strong, R.

    1986-03-05

    It has been well demonstrated that there is a direct correlation between increase in dolichol level in brain and aging. An abnormally high level of dolichol was found in brain tissue of patients with pathological aging disorders. The aim of this study is to examine the physiological significance of dolichol affecting membrane transport activity and phospholipid acyl group turnover. Dolichol added to synaptic plasma membranes resulted in a biphasic effect on (Na/sup +/, K/sup +/)-ATPase, i.e., an enhancement of activity at low concentrations (5 ..mu..g/125 mg protein) and an inhibition of activity at high concentrations (40-100 ..mu..g). To probe the membrane acyl group turnover, the incorporation of (/sup 14/C)-arachidonate into plasma membrane phospholipids was examined in the presence and absence of dolichol. Dolichol elicited an increase in the incorporation of label into phospholipids. However, the effects varied depending on whether BSA is present. In the absence of BSA, the increase in labeling of phosphatidylinositols is higher than that of phosphatidylcholines. These results suggest that dolichols, when inserted into membranes, may alter membrane functions.

  18. Two is More Than One: How to Combine Brain Stimulation Rehabilitative Training for Functional Recovery?

    PubMed Central

    Koganemaru, Satoko; Fukuyama, Hidenao; Mima, Tatsuya

    2015-01-01

    A number of studies have shown that non-invasive brain stimulation has an additional effect in combination with rehabilitative therapy to enhance functional recovery than either therapy alone. The combination enhances use-dependent plasticity induced by repetitive training. The neurophysiological mechanism of the effects of this combination is based on associative plasticity. However, these effects were not reported in all cases. We propose a list of possible strategies to achieve an effective association between rehabilitative training with brain stimulation for plasticity: (1) control of temporal aspect between stimulation and task execution; (2) the use of a shaped task for the combination; (3) the appropriate stimulation of neuronal circuits where use-dependent plastic changes occur; and (4) phase synchronization between rhythmically patterned brain stimulation and task-related patterned activities of neurons. To better utilize brain stimulation in neuro-rehabilitation, it is important to develop more effective techniques to combine them. PMID:26617497

  19. The birth of new neurons in the maternal brain: Hormonal regulation and functional implications.

    PubMed

    Leuner, Benedetta; Sabihi, Sara

    2016-04-01

    The maternal brain is remarkably plastic and exhibits multifaceted neural modifications. Neurogenesis has emerged as one of the mechanisms by which the maternal brain exhibits plasticity. This review highlights what is currently known about peripartum-associated changes in adult neurogenesis and the underlying hormonal mechanisms. We also consider the functional consequences of neurogenesis in the peripartum brain and extent to which this process may play a role in maternal care, cognitive function and postpartum mood. Finally, while most work investigating the effects of parenting on adult neurogenesis has focused on mothers, a few studies have examined fathers and these results are also discussed. PMID:26969795

  20. Musicians and music making as a model for the study of brain plasticity

    PubMed Central

    Schlaug, Gottfried

    2015-01-01

    Playing a musical instrument is an intense, multisensory, and motor experience that usually commences at an early age and requires the acquisition and maintenance of a range of sensory and motor skills over the course of a musician’s lifetime. Thus, musicians offer an excellent human model for studying behavioral-cognitive as well as brain effects of acquiring, practicing, and maintaining these specialized skills. Research has shown that repeatedly practicing the association of motor actions with specific sound and visual patterns (musical notation), while receiving continuous multisensory feedback will strengthen connections between auditory and motor regions (e.g., arcuate fasciculus) as well as multimodal integration regions. Plasticity in this network may explain some of the sensorimotor and cognitive enhancements that have been associated with music training. Furthermore, the plasticity of this system as a result of long term and intense interventions suggest the potential for music making activities (e.g., forms of singing) as an intervention for neurological and developmental disorders to learn and relearn associations between auditory and motor functions such as vocal motor functions. PMID:25725909

  1. Musicians and music making as a model for the study of brain plasticity.

    PubMed

    Schlaug, Gottfried

    2015-01-01

    Playing a musical instrument is an intense, multisensory, and motor experience that usually commences at an early age and requires the acquisition and maintenance of a range of sensory and motor skills over the course of a musician's lifetime. Thus, musicians offer an excellent human model for studying behavioral-cognitive as well as brain effects of acquiring, practicing, and maintaining these specialized skills. Research has shown that repeatedly practicing the association of motor actions with specific sound and visual patterns (musical notation), while receiving continuous multisensory feedback will strengthen connections between auditory and motor regions (e.g., arcuate fasciculus) as well as multimodal integration regions. Plasticity in this network may explain some of the sensorimotor and cognitive enhancements that have been associated with music training. Furthermore, the plasticity of this system as a result of long term and intense interventions suggest the potential for music making activities (e.g., forms of singing) as an intervention for neurological and developmental disorders to learn and relearn associations between auditory and motor functions such as vocal motor functions. PMID:25725909

  2. Modeling learning in brain stem and cerebellar sites responsible for VOR plasticity.

    PubMed

    Quinn, K J; Didier, A J; Baker, J F; Peterson, B W

    1998-07-01

    A simple model of vestibuloocular reflex (VOR) function was used to analyze several hypotheses currently held concerning the characteristics of VOR plasticity. The network included a direct vestibular pathway and an indirect path via the cerebellum. An optimization analysis of this model suggests that regulation of brain stem sites is critical for the proper modification of VOR gain. A more physiologically plausible learning rule was also applied to this network. Analysis of these simulation results suggests that the preferred error correction signal controlling gain modification of the VOR is the direct output of the accessory optic system (AOS) to the vestibular nuclei vs. a signal relayed through the cerebellum via floccular Purkinje cells. The potential anatomical and physiological basis for this conclusion is discussed, in relation to our current understanding of the latency of the adapted VOR response. PMID:9671263

  3. Modeling learning in brain stem and cerebellar sites responsible for VOR plasticity

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Quinn, K. J.; Didier, A. J.; Baker, J. F.; Peterson, B. W.

    1998-01-01

    A simple model of vestibuloocular reflex (VOR) function was used to analyze several hypotheses currently held concerning the characteristics of VOR plasticity. The network included a direct vestibular pathway and an indirect path via the cerebellum. An optimization analysis of this model suggests that regulation of brain stem sites is critical for the proper modification of VOR gain. A more physiologically plausible learning rule was also applied to this network. Analysis of these simulation results suggests that the preferred error correction signal controlling gain modification of the VOR is the direct output of the accessory optic system (AOS) to the vestibular nuclei vs. a signal relayed through the cerebellum via floccular Purkinje cells. The potential anatomical and physiological basis for this conclusion is discussed, in relation to our current understanding of the latency of the adapted VOR response.

  4. Music mnemonics aid Verbal Memory and Induce Learning – Related Brain Plasticity in Multiple Sclerosis

    PubMed Central

    Thaut, Michael H.; Peterson, David A.; McIntosh, Gerald C.; Hoemberg, Volker

    2014-01-01

    Recent research on music and brain function has suggested that the temporal pattern structure in music and rhythm can enhance cognitive functions. To further elucidate this question specifically for memory, we investigated if a musical template can enhance verbal learning in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and if music-assisted learning will also influence short-term, system-level brain plasticity. We measured systems-level brain activity with oscillatory network synchronization during music-assisted learning. Specifically, we measured the spectral power of 128-channel electroencephalogram (EEG) in alpha and beta frequency bands in 54 patients with MS. The study sample was randomly divided into two groups, either hearing a spoken or a musical (sung) presentation of Rey’s auditory verbal learning test. We defined the “learning-related synchronization” (LRS) as the percent change in EEG spectral power from the first time the word was presented to the average of the subsequent word encoding trials. LRS differed significantly between the music and the spoken conditions in low alpha and upper beta bands. Patients in the music condition showed overall better word memory and better word order memory and stronger bilateral frontal alpha LRS than patients in the spoken condition. The evidence suggests that a musical mnemonic recruits stronger oscillatory network synchronization in prefrontal areas in MS patients during word learning. It is suggested that the temporal structure implicit in musical stimuli enhances “deep encoding” during verbal learning and sharpens the timing of neural dynamics in brain networks degraded by demyelination in MS. PMID:24982626

  5. Music mnemonics aid Verbal Memory and Induce Learning - Related Brain Plasticity in Multiple Sclerosis.

    PubMed

    Thaut, Michael H; Peterson, David A; McIntosh, Gerald C; Hoemberg, Volker

    2014-01-01

    Recent research on music and brain function has suggested that the temporal pattern structure in music and rhythm can enhance cognitive functions. To further elucidate this question specifically for memory, we investigated if a musical template can enhance verbal learning in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and if music-assisted learning will also influence short-term, system-level brain plasticity. We measured systems-level brain activity with oscillatory network synchronization during music-assisted learning. Specifically, we measured the spectral power of 128-channel electroencephalogram (EEG) in alpha and beta frequency bands in 54 patients with MS. The study sample was randomly divided into two groups, either hearing a spoken or a musical (sung) presentation of Rey's auditory verbal learning test. We defined the "learning-related synchronization" (LRS) as the percent change in EEG spectral power from the first time the word was presented to the average of the subsequent word encoding trials. LRS differed significantly between the music and the spoken conditions in low alpha and upper beta bands. Patients in the music condition showed overall better word memory and better word order memory and stronger bilateral frontal alpha LRS than patients in the spoken condition. The evidence suggests that a musical mnemonic recruits stronger oscillatory network synchronization in prefrontal areas in MS patients during word learning. It is suggested that the temporal structure implicit in musical stimuli enhances "deep encoding" during verbal learning and sharpens the timing of neural dynamics in brain networks degraded by demyelination in MS. PMID:24982626

  6. Promoting Motor Function by Exercising the Brain

    PubMed Central

    Perrey, Stephane

    2013-01-01

    Exercise represents a behavioral intervention that enhances brain health and motor function. The increase in cerebral blood volume in response to physical activity may be responsible for improving brain function. Among the various neuroimaging techniques used to monitor brain hemodynamic response during exercise, functional near-infrared spectroscopy could facilitate the measurement of task-related cortical responses noninvasively and is relatively robust with regard to the subjects’ motion. Although the components of optimal exercise interventions have not been determined, evidence from animal and human studies suggests that aerobic exercise with sufficiently high intensity has neuroprotective properties and promotes motor function. This review provides an insight into the effect of physical activity (based on endurance and resistance exercises) on brain function for producing movement. Since most progress in the study of brain function has come from patients with neurological disorders (e.g., stroke and Parkinson’s patients), this review presents some findings emphasizing training paradigms for restoring motor function. PMID:24961309

  7. Promoting motor function by exercising the brain.

    PubMed

    Perrey, Stephane

    2013-01-01

    Exercise represents a behavioral intervention that enhances brain health and motor function. The increase in cerebral blood volume in response to physical activity may be responsible for improving brain function. Among the various neuroimaging techniques used to monitor brain hemodynamic response during exercise, functional near-infrared spectroscopy could facilitate the measurement of task-related cortical responses noninvasively and is relatively robust with regard to the subjects' motion. Although the components of optimal exercise interventions have not been determined, evidence from animal and human studies suggests that aerobic exercise with sufficiently high intensity has neuroprotective properties and promotes motor function. This review provides an insight into the effect of physical activity (based on endurance and resistance exercises) on brain function for producing movement. Since most progress in the study of brain function has come from patients with neurological disorders (e.g., stroke and Parkinson's patients), this review presents some findings emphasizing training paradigms for restoring motor function. PMID:24961309

  8. The brain timewise: how timing shapes and supports brain function

    PubMed Central

    Hari, Riitta; Parkkonen, Lauri

    2015-01-01

    We discuss the importance of timing in brain function: how temporal dynamics of the world has left its traces in the brain during evolution and how we can monitor the dynamics of the human brain with non-invasive measurements. Accurate timing is important for the interplay of neurons, neuronal circuitries, brain areas and human individuals. In the human brain, multiple temporal integration windows are hierarchically organized, with temporal scales ranging from microseconds to tens and hundreds of milliseconds for perceptual, motor and cognitive functions, and up to minutes, hours and even months for hormonal and mood changes. Accurate timing is impaired in several brain diseases. From the current repertoire of non-invasive brain imaging methods, only magnetoencephalography (MEG) and scalp electroencephalography (EEG) provide millisecond time-resolution; our focus in this paper is on MEG. Since the introduction of high-density whole-scalp MEG/EEG coverage in the 1990s, the instrumentation has not changed drastically; yet, novel data analyses are advancing the field rapidly by shifting the focus from the mere pinpointing of activity hotspots to seeking stimulus- or task-specific information and to characterizing functional networks. During the next decades, we can expect increased spatial resolution and accuracy of the time-resolved brain imaging and better understanding of brain function, especially its temporal constraints, with the development of novel instrumentation and finer-grained, physiologically inspired generative models of local and network activity. Merging both spatial and temporal information with increasing accuracy and carrying out recordings in naturalistic conditions, including social interaction, will bring much new information about human brain function. PMID:25823867

  9. Task decomposition: a framework for comparing diverse training models in human brain plasticity studies

    PubMed Central

    Coffey, Emily B. J.; Herholz, Sibylle C.

    2013-01-01

    Training studies, in which the structural or functional neurophysiology is compared before and after expertise is acquired, are increasingly being used as models for understanding the human brain’s potential for reorganization. It is proving difficult to use these results to answer basic and important questions like how task training leads to both specific and general changes in behavior and how these changes correspond with modifications in the brain. The main culprit is the diversity of paradigms used as complex task models. An assortment of activities ranging from juggling to deciphering Morse code has been reported. Even when working in the same general domain, few researchers use similar training models. New ways to meaningfully compare complex tasks are needed. We propose a method for characterizing and deconstructing the task requirements of complex training paradigms, which is suitable for application to both structural and functional neuroimaging studies. We believe this approach will aid brain plasticity research by making it easier to compare training paradigms, identify “missing puzzle pieces,” and encourage researchers to design training protocols to bridge these gaps. PMID:24115927

  10. The restless brain: how intrinsic activity organizes brain function

    PubMed Central

    Raichle, Marcus E.

    2015-01-01

    Traditionally studies of brain function have focused on task-evoked responses. By their very nature such experiments tacitly encourage a reflexive view of brain function. While such an approach has been remarkably productive at all levels of neuroscience, it ignores the alternative possibility that brain functions are mainly intrinsic and ongoing, involving information processing for interpreting, responding to and predicting environmental demands. I suggest that the latter view best captures the essence of brain function, a position that accords well with the allocation of the brain's energy resources, its limited access to sensory information and a dynamic, intrinsic functional organization. The nature of this intrinsic activity, which exhibits a surprising level of organization with dimensions of both space and time, is revealed in the ongoing activity of the brain and its metabolism. As we look to the future, understanding the nature of this intrinsic activity will require integrating knowledge from cognitive and systems neuroscience with cellular and molecular neuroscience where ion channels, receptors, components of signal transduction and metabolic pathways are all in a constant state of flux. The reward for doing so will be a much better understanding of human behaviour in health and disease. PMID:25823869

  11. The restless brain: how intrinsic activity organizes brain function.

    PubMed

    Raichle, Marcus E

    2015-05-19

    Traditionally studies of brain function have focused on task-evoked responses. By their very nature such experiments tacitly encourage a reflexive view of brain function. While such an approach has been remarkably productive at all levels of neuroscience, it ignores the alternative possibility that brain functions are mainly intrinsic and ongoing, involving information processing for interpreting, responding to and predicting environmental demands. I suggest that the latter view best captures the essence of brain function, a position that accords well with the allocation of the brain's energy resources, its limited access to sensory information and a dynamic, intrinsic functional organization. The nature of this intrinsic activity, which exhibits a surprising level of organization with dimensions of both space and time, is revealed in the ongoing activity of the brain and its metabolism. As we look to the future, understanding the nature of this intrinsic activity will require integrating knowledge from cognitive and systems neuroscience with cellular and molecular neuroscience where ion channels, receptors, components of signal transduction and metabolic pathways are all in a constant state of flux. The reward for doing so will be a much better understanding of human behaviour in health and disease. PMID:25823869

  12. Plastic neuroscience: studying what the brain cares about

    PubMed Central

    Dumit, Joseph

    2014-01-01

    Drawing on Allan Newell's “You can't play 20 questions with nature and win,” this article proposes that neuroscience needs to go beyond binary hypothesis testing and design experiments that follow what neurons care about. Examples from Lettvin et. al. are used to demonstrate that one can experimentally play with neurons and generate surprising results. In this manner, brains are not confused with persons, rather, persons are understood to do things with their brains. PMID:24795589

  13. Valproic acid modulates brain plasticity through epigenetic chromatin remodeling in the blind rat: implications for human sight recovery.

    PubMed

    Fetter-Pruneda, I; Martínez-Méndez, R; Olivos-Cisneros, L; Diaz, D; Padilla-Cortés, P; Báez-Saldaña, A; Gutiérrez-Ospina, G

    2011-01-01

    Blindness is a pervasive sensory condition that imposes diverse difficulties to carry on with activities of daily living. In blind individuals, the brain is subjected to a large scale reorganization characterized by expanded cortical territories associated with somatosensory and auditory functions and the recruitment of the former visual areas to perform bimodal somatosensory and auditory integration. This poses obstacles to efforts aimed at reassigning visual functions to the recruited visual cortex in the blind, especially after the end of the ontogentic sensitive period. Devising pharmacological measures to modulate the magnitude of brain plasticity could improve our chances of recovering visual functions in the blind. Here, by using the primary somatosensory cortex (S1) in the rat as a working model, we showed that valproic acid administered through the mother's milk prevents cortical reorganization in blinded rats by delaying neuronal histone de-acetylation. These results suggest that in the future, we might be able to devise epigenetic pharmacological measures that could improve our chances of reassigning visual functions to the once deprived former visual cortex in the blind, by modulating the magnitude of brain plasticity during critical times of development. PMID:22423589

  14. Modulation of Rho GTPases rescues brain mitochondrial dysfunction, cognitive deficits and aberrant synaptic plasticity in female mice modeling Rett syndrome.

    PubMed

    De Filippis, Bianca; Valenti, Daniela; Chiodi, Valentina; Ferrante, Antonella; de Bari, Lidia; Fiorentini, Carla; Domenici, Maria Rosaria; Ricceri, Laura; Vacca, Rosa Anna; Fabbri, Alessia; Laviola, Giovanni

    2015-06-01

    Rho GTPases are molecules critically involved in neuronal plasticity and cognition. We have previously reported that modulation of brain Rho GTPases by the bacterial toxin CNF1 rescues the neurobehavioral phenotype in MeCP2-308 male mice, a model of Rett syndrome (RTT). RTT is a rare X-linked neurodevelopmental disorder and a genetic cause of intellectual disability, for which no effective therapy is available. Mitochondrial dysfunction has been proposed to be involved in the mechanism of the disease pathogenesis. Here we demonstrate that modulation of Rho GTPases by CNF1 rescues the reduced mitochondrial ATP production via oxidative phosphorylation in the brain of MeCP2-308 heterozygous female mice, the condition which more closely recapitulates that of RTT patients. In RTT mouse brain, CNF1 also restores the alterations in the activity of the mitochondrial respiratory chain (MRC) complexes and of ATP synthase, the molecular machinery responsible for the majority of cell energy production. Such effects were achieved through the upregulation of the protein content of those MRC complexes subunits, which were defective in RTT mouse brain. Restored mitochondrial functionality was accompanied by the rescue of deficits in cognitive function (spatial reference memory in the Barnes maze), synaptic plasticity (long-term potentiation) and Tyr1472 phosphorylation of GluN2B, which was abnormally enhanced in the hippocampus of RTT mice. Present findings bring into light previously unknown functional mitochondrial alterations in the brain of female mice modeling RTT and provide the first evidence that RTT brain mitochondrial dysfunction can be rescued by modulation of Rho GTPases. PMID:25890884

  15. Exercise-mimetic AICAR transiently benefits brain function

    PubMed Central

    Guerrieri, Davide; van Praag, Henriette

    2015-01-01

    Exercise enhances learning and memory in animals and humans. The role of peripheral factors that may trigger the beneficial effects of running on brain function has been sparsely examined. In particular, it is unknown whether AMP-kinase (AMPK) activation in muscle can predict enhancement of brain plasticity. Here we compare the effects of running and administration of AMPK agonist 5-Aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide 1-β-D-ribofuranoside (AICAR, 500 mg/kg), for 3, 7 or 14 days in one-month-old male C57BL/6J mice, on muscle AMPK signaling. At the time-points where we observed equivalent running- and AICAR-induced muscle pAMPK levels (7 and 14 days), cell proliferation, synaptic plasticity and gene expression, as well as markers of oxidative stress and inflammation in the dentate gyrus (DG) of the hippocampus and lateral entorhinal cortex (LEC) were evaluated. At the 7-day time-point, both regimens increased new DG cell number and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) protein levels. Furthermore, microarray analysis of DG and LEC tissue showed a remarkable overlap between running and AICAR in the regulation of neuronal, mitochondrial and metabolism related gene classes. Interestingly, while similar outcomes for both treatments were stable over time in muscle, in the brain an inversion occurred at fourteen days. The compound no longer increased DG cell proliferation or neurotrophin levels, and upregulated expression of apoptotic genes and inflammatory cytokine interleukin-1β. Thus, an exercise mimetic that produces changes in muscle consistent with those of exercise does not have the same sustainable positive effects on the brain, indicating that only running consistently benefits brain function. PMID:26286955

  16. Energetic cost of brain functional connectivity

    PubMed Central

    Tomasi, Dardo; Wang, Gene-Jack; Volkow, Nora D.

    2013-01-01

    The brain's functional connectivity is complex, has high energetic cost, and requires efficient use of glucose, the brain's main energy source. It has been proposed that regions with a high degree of functional connectivity are energy efficient and can minimize consumption of glucose. However, the relationship between functional connectivity and energy consumption in the brain is poorly understood. To address this neglect, here we propose a simple model for the energy demands of brain functional connectivity, which we tested with positron emission tomography and MRI in 54 healthy volunteers at rest. Higher glucose metabolism was associated with proportionally larger MRI signal amplitudes, and a higher degree of connectivity was associated with nonlinear increases in metabolism, supporting our hypothesis for the energy efficiency of the connectivity hubs. Basal metabolism (in the absence of connectivity) accounted for 30% of brain glucose utilization, which suggests that the spontaneous brain activity accounts for 70% of the energy consumed by the brain. The energy efficiency of the connectivity hubs was higher for ventral precuneus, cerebellum, and subcortical hubs than for cortical hubs. The higher energy demands of brain communication that hinges upon higher connectivity could render brain hubs more vulnerable to deficits in energy delivery or utilization and help explain their sensitivity to neurodegenerative conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease. PMID:23898179

  17. Brain Function: Implications for Schooling.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Edwards, Clifford H.

    1982-01-01

    The implications of cerebral dominance for curriculum and instruction are enormous. Cognitive style, sex differences, instructional materials preparation and selection, and testing are affected by right or left brain hemisphere dominance. (CJ)

  18. Brain plasticity and recovery from early cortical injury.

    PubMed

    Kolb, Bryan; Mychasiuk, Richelle; Williams, Preston; Gibb, Robbin

    2011-09-01

    Neocortical development represents more than a simple unfolding of a genetic blueprint: rather, it represents a complex dance of genetic and environmental events that interact to adapt the brain to fit a particular environmental context. Most cortical regions are sensitive to a wide range of experiential factors during development and later in life, but the injured cortex appears to be unusually sensitive to perinatal experiences. This paper reviews the factors that influence how normal and injured brains (both focal and ischemic injuries) develop and adapt into adulthood. Such factors include prenatal experiences in utero as well as postnatal experiences throughout life. Examples include the effects of sensory and motor stimulation, psychoactive drugs (including illicit and prescription drugs), maternal and postnatal stress, neurotrophic factors, and pre- and postnatal diet. All these factors influence cerebral development and influence recovery from brain injury during development. PMID:21950386

  19. Brain lateralization and neural plasticity for musical and cognitive abilities in an epileptic musician.

    PubMed

    Trujillo-Pozo, Isabel; Martín-Monzón, Isabel; Rodríguez-Romero, Rafael

    2013-01-01

    The use of intracarotid propofol procedure (IPP) when assessing musical lateralization has not been reported in literature up to now. This procedure (similar to Wada Test) has provided the opportunity to investigate not only lateralization of language and memory functions on epileptic patients but also offers a functional mapping approach with superior spatial and temporal resolution to analyze the lateralization of musical abilities. Findings in literature suggest that musical training modifies functional and structural brain organization. We studied hemispheric lateralization in a professional musician, a 33 years old woman with refractory left medial temporal lobe (MTL) epilepsy (TLE). A longitudinal neuropsychological study was performed over a period of 21 months. Before epilepsy surgery, musical abilities, language and memory were tested during IPP by means of a novel and exhaustive neuropsychological battery focusing on the processing of music. We used a selection of stimuli to analyze listening, score reading, and tempo discrimination. Our results suggested that IPP is an excellent method to determine not only language, semantic, and episodic memory, but also musical dominance in a professional musician who may be candidate for epilepsy surgery. Neuropsychological testing revealed that right hemisphere's patient is involved in semantic and episodic musical memory processes, whereas her score reading and tempo processing require contribution from both hemispheres. At one-year follow-up, outcome was excellent with respect to seizures and professional skills, meanwhile cognitive abilities improved. These findings indicate that IPP helps to predict who might be at risk for postoperative musical, language, and memory deficits after epilepsy surgery. Our research suggests that musical expertise and epilepsy critically modifies long-term memory processes and induces brain structural and functional plasticity. PMID:24367312

  20. Brain lateralization and neural plasticity for musical and cognitive abilities in an epileptic musician

    PubMed Central

    Trujillo-Pozo, Isabel; Martín-Monzón, Isabel; Rodríguez-Romero, Rafael

    2013-01-01

    The use of intracarotid propofol procedure (IPP) when assessing musical lateralization has not been reported in literature up to now. This procedure (similar to Wada Test) has provided the opportunity to investigate not only lateralization of language and memory functions on epileptic patients but also offers a functional mapping approach with superior spatial and temporal resolution to analyze the lateralization of musical abilities. Findings in literature suggest that musical training modifies functional and structural brain organization. We studied hemispheric lateralization in a professional musician, a 33 years old woman with refractory left medial temporal lobe (MTL) epilepsy (TLE). A longitudinal neuropsychological study was performed over a period of 21 months. Before epilepsy surgery, musical abilities, language and memory were tested during IPP by means of a novel and exhaustive neuropsychological battery focusing on the processing of music. We used a selection of stimuli to analyze listening, score reading, and tempo discrimination. Our results suggested that IPP is an excellent method to determine not only language, semantic, and episodic memory, but also musical dominance in a professional musician who may be candidate for epilepsy surgery. Neuropsychological testing revealed that right hemisphere's patient is involved in semantic and episodic musical memory processes, whereas her score reading and tempo processing require contribution from both hemispheres. At one-year follow-up, outcome was excellent with respect to seizures and professional skills, meanwhile cognitive abilities improved. These findings indicate that IPP helps to predict who might be at risk for postoperative musical, language, and memory deficits after epilepsy surgery. Our research suggests that musical expertise and epilepsy critically modifies long-term memory processes and induces brain structural and functional plasticity. PMID:24367312

  1. Principles of Experience-Dependent Neural Plasticity: Implications for Rehabilitation after Brain Damage

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kleim, Jeffrey A.; Jones, Theresa A.

    2008-01-01

    Purpose: This paper reviews 10 principles of experience-dependent neural plasticity and considerations in applying them to the damaged brain. Method: Neuroscience research using a variety of models of learning, neurological disease, and trauma are reviewed from the perspective of basic neuroscientists but in a manner intended to be useful for the…

  2. Cortical plasticity and preserved function in early blindness

    PubMed Central

    Renier, Laurent; De Volder, Anne G.; Rauschecker, Josef P.

    2013-01-01

    The “neural Darwinism” theory predicts that when one sensory modality is lacking, as in congenital blindness, the target structures are taken over by the afferent inputs from other senses that will promote and control their functional maturation (Edelman, 1993). This view receives support from both cross-modal plasticity experiments in animal models and functional imaging studies in man, which are presented here. PMID:23453908

  3. Brain Plasticity and the Art of Teaching to Learn

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Martinez, Margaret

    2005-01-01

    "Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself, "wrote Leo Tolstoy. Have you ever thought about how learning changes your brain? If yes, this paper may help you explore the research that will change our learning landscape in the next few years! Recent developers in the neurosciences and education research…

  4. Perspectives of TRPV1 Function on the Neurogenesis and Neural Plasticity

    PubMed Central

    Ramírez-Barrantes, R.; Cordova, C.; Poblete, H.; Muñoz, P.; Marchant, I.; Wianny, F.; Olivero, P.

    2016-01-01

    The development of new strategies to renew and repair neuronal networks using neural plasticity induced by stem cell graft could enable new therapies to cure diseases that were considered lethal until now. In adequate microenvironment a neuronal progenitor must receive molecular signal of a specific cellular context to determine fate, differentiation, and location. TRPV1, a nonselective calcium channel, is expressed in neurogenic regions of the brain like the subgranular zone of the hippocampal dentate gyrus and the telencephalic subventricular zone, being valuable for neural differentiation and neural plasticity. Current data show that TRPV1 is involved in several neuronal functions as cytoskeleton dynamics, cell migration, survival, and regeneration of injured neurons, incorporating several stimuli in neurogenesis and network integration. The function of TRPV1 in the brain is under intensive investigation, due to multiple places where it has been detected and its sensitivity for different chemical and physical agonists, and a new role of TRPV1 in brain function is now emerging as a molecular tool for survival and control of neural stem cells. PMID:26881090

  5. Taurine content in different brain structures during ageing: effect on hippocampal synaptic plasticity.

    PubMed

    Suárez, Luz M; Muñoz, María-Dolores; Martín Del Río, Rafael; Solís, José M

    2016-05-01

    A reduction in taurine content accompanies the ageing process in many tissues. In fact, the decline of brain taurine levels has been associated with cognitive deficits whereas chronic administration of taurine seems to ameliorate age-related deficits such as memory acquisition and retention. In the present study, using rats of three age groups (young, adult and aged) we determined whether the content of taurine and other amino acids (glutamate, serine, glutamine, glycine, alanine and GABA) was altered during ageing in different brain areas (cerebellum, cortex and hippocampus) as well non-brain tissues (heart, kidney, liver and plasma). Moreover, using hippocampal slices we tested whether ageing affects synaptic function and plasticity. These parameters were also determined in aged rats fed with either taurine-devoid or taurine-supplemented diets. With age, we found heterogeneous changes in amino acid content depending on the amino acid type and the tissue. In the case of taurine, its content was reduced in the cerebellum of adult and aged rats, but it remained unchanged in the hippocampus, cortex, heart and liver. The synaptic response amplitude decreased in aged rats, although the late phase of long-term synaptic potentiation (late-LTP), a taurine-dependent process, was not altered. Our study highlights the stability of taurine content in the hippocampus during ageing regardless of whether taurine was present in the diet, which is consistent with the lack of changes detected in late-LTP. These results indicate that the beneficial effects of taurine supplementation might be independent of the replenishment of taurine stores. PMID:26803657

  6. Adaptation of the communicative brain to post-lingual deafness. Evidence from functional imaging.

    PubMed

    Lazard, Diane S; Innes-Brown, Hamish; Barone, Pascal

    2014-01-01

    Not having access to one sense profoundly modifies our interactions with the environment, in turn producing changes in brain organization. Deafness and its rehabilitation by cochlear implantation offer a unique model of brain adaptation during sensory deprivation and recovery. Functional imaging allows the study of brain plasticity as a function of the times of deafness and implantation. Even long after the end of the sensitive period for auditory brain physiological maturation, some plasticity may be observed. In this way the mature brain that becomes deaf after language acquisition can adapt to its modified sensory inputs. Oral communication difficulties induced by post-lingual deafness shape cortical reorganization of brain networks already specialized for processing oral language. Left hemisphere language specialization tends to be more preserved than functions of the right hemisphere. We hypothesize that the right hemisphere offers cognitive resources re-purposed to palliate difficulties in left hemisphere speech processing due to sensory and auditory memory degradation. If cochlear implantation is considered, this reorganization during deafness may influence speech understanding outcomes positively or negatively. Understanding brain plasticity during post-lingual deafness should thus inform the development of cognitive rehabilitation, which promotes positive reorganization of the brain networks that process oral language before surgery. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Human Auditory Neuroimaging. PMID:23973562

  7. Studying synaptic plasticity in the human brain and opportunities for drug discovery.

    PubMed

    Nathan, Pradeep J; Cobb, Stuart R; Lu, Bai; Bullmore, Edward T; Davies, Ceri H

    2011-10-01

    Synaptic plasticity is the ability of synaptic connections between neurons to be strengthened or weakened; a process that is central to the information processing within the brain and which plays a particularly important role in enabling higher cognitive processes [1,2]. Its role in disease is becoming increasingly clear across a wide spectrum of CNS disorders. Thus, for example, dysfunctional synaptic plasticity has been reported in neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's Disease (AD) as well as in schizophrenia and in a range of disorders associated with learning disabilities [3]. Moreover, maladaptive plasticity processes in response to specific external challenges are believed to underlie disorders such as addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The molecular basis of normal and disease plasticity is rapidly being unravelled such that synaptic plasticity now provides a unique platform from which to launch the hunt for highly innovative drugs to treat CNS disease by either, firstly, rectifying identifiable abnormalities in these processes, or secondly, utilizing these processes as a vehicle to rectify, or bypass, other mechanisms underlying disease. In this respect, recent advances have been made in studying synaptic plasticity in humans at the molecular through to clinical level and these approaches now provide a real opportunity to test synaptic plasticity as a treatment paradigm for a wide variety of CNS disorders. PMID:21737346

  8. Inhibition of Tnf-α R1 signaling can rescue functional cortical plasticity impaired in early post-stroke period.

    PubMed

    Liguz-Lecznar, Monika; Zakrzewska, Renata; Kossut, Malgorzata

    2015-10-01

    Tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) is one of the key players in stroke progression and can interfere with brain functioning. We previously documented an impairment of experience-dependent plasticity in the cortex neighboring the stroke-induced lesion, which was accompanied with an upregulation of Tnf-α level in the brain of ischemic mice 1 week after the stroke. Because TNF receptor 1 (TnfR1) signaling is believed to be a major mediator of the cytotoxicity of Tnf-α through activation of caspases, we used an anti-inflammatory intervention aimed at Tnf-α R1 pathway, in order to try to attenuate the detrimental effect of post-stroke inflammation, and investigated if this will be effective in protecting plasticity in the infarct proximity. Aged mice (12-14 months) were subjected to the photothrombotic stroke localized near somatosensory cortex, and immediately after ischemia sensory deprivation was introduced to induce plasticity. Soluble TNF-α R1 (sTNF-α R1), which competed for TNF-α with receptors localized in the brain, was delivered chronically directly into the brain tissue for the whole period of deprivation using ALZET Micro-Osmotic pumps. We have shown that such approach undertaken simultaneously with the stroke reduced the level of TNF-α in the peri-ischemic tissue and was successful in preserving the post-stroke deprivation-induced brain plasticity. PMID:26189092

  9. Prentice Award Lecture 2011: Removing the Brakes on Plasticity in the Amblyopic Brain

    PubMed Central

    Levi, Dennis M.

    2012-01-01

    Experience-dependent plasticity is closely linked with the development of sensory function. Beyond this sensitive period, developmental plasticity is actively limited; however, new studies provide growing evidence for plasticity in the adult visual system. The amblyopic visual system is an excellent model for examining the “brakes” that limit recovery of function beyond the critical period. While amblyopia can often be reversed when treated early, conventional treatment is generally not undertaken in older children and adults. However new clinical and experimental studies in both animals and humans provide evidence for neural plasticity beyond the critical period. The results suggest that perceptual learning and video game play may be effective in improving a range of visual performance measures and importantly the improvements may transfer to better visual acuity and stereopsis. These findings, along with the results of new clinical trials, suggest that it might be time to re-consider our notions about neural plasticity in amblyopia. PMID:22581119

  10. Prentice award lecture 2011: removing the brakes on plasticity in the amblyopic brain.

    PubMed

    Levi, Dennis M

    2012-06-01

    Experience-dependent plasticity is closely linked with the development of sensory function. Beyond this sensitive period, developmental plasticity is actively limited; however, new studies provide growing evidence for plasticity in the adult visual system. The amblyopic visual system is an excellent model for examining the "brakes" that limit recovery of function beyond the critical period. While amblyopia can often be reversed when treated early, conventional treatment is generally not undertaken in older children and adults. However, new clinical and experimental studies in both animals and humans provide evidence for neural plasticity beyond the critical period. The results suggest that perceptual learning and video game play may be effective in improving a range of visual performance measures and importantly the improvements may transfer to better visual acuity and stereopsis. These findings, along with the results of new clinical trials, suggest that it might be time to reconsider our notions about neural plasticity in amblyopia. PMID:22581119

  11. Brain, Mind and Language Functional Architectures

    PubMed Central

    Fingelkurts, Andrew A; Fingelkurts, Alexander A; Marchetti, Giorgio

    2010-01-01

    The interaction between brain and language has been investigated by a vast amount of research and different approaches, which however do not offer a comprehensive and unified theoretical framework to analyze how brain functioning performs the mental processes we use in producing language and in understanding speech. This Special Issue addresses the need to develop such a general theoretical framework, by fostering an interaction among the various scientific disciplines and methodologies, which centres on investigating the functional architecture of brain, mind and language, and is articulated along the following main dimensions of research: (a) Language as a regulatory contour of brain and mental processes; (b) Language as a unique human phenomenon; (c) Language as a governor of human behaviour and brain operations; (d) Language as an organizational factor of ontogenesis of mentation and behaviour. PMID:20922047

  12. Preventive brain radio-chemotherapy alters plasticity associated metabolite profile in the hippocampus but seems to not affect spatial memory in young leukemia patients

    PubMed Central

    Brandt, Moritz D; Brandt, Kalina; Werner, Annett; Schönfeld, Robby; Loewenbrück, Kai; Donix, Markus; Schaich, Markus; Bornhäuser, Martin; von Kummer, Rüdiger; Leplow, Bernd; Storch, Alexander

    2015-01-01

    Background Neuronal plasticity leading to evolving reorganization of the neuronal network during entire lifespan plays an important role for brain function especially memory performance. Adult neurogenesis occurring in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus represents the maximal way of network reorganization. Brain radio-chemotherapy strongly inhibits adult hippocampal neurogenesis in mice leading to impaired spatial memory. Methods To elucidate the effects of CNS radio-chemotherapy on hippocampal plasticity and function in humans, we performed a longitudinal pilot study using 3T proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS) and virtual water-maze-tests in 10 de-novo patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia undergoing preventive whole brain radio-chemotherapy. Patients were examined before, during and after treatment. Results CNS radio-chemotherapy did neither affect recall performance in probe trails nor flexible (reversal) relearning of a new target position over a time frame of 10 weeks measured by longitudinal virtual water-maze-testing, but provoked hippocampus-specific decrease in choline as a metabolite associated with cellular plasticity in 1H-MRS. Conclusion Albeit this pilot study needs to be followed up to definitely resolve the question about the functional role of adult human neurogenesis, the presented data suggest that 1H-MRS allows the detection of neurogenesis-associated plasticity in the human brain. PMID:26442754

  13. Impact of fatty acids on brain circulation, structure and function.

    PubMed

    Haast, Roy A M; Kiliaan, Amanda J

    2015-01-01

    The use of dietary intervention has evolved into a promising approach to prevent the onset and progression of brain diseases. The positive relationship between intake of omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (ω3-LCPUFAs) and decreased onset of disease- and aging-related deterioration of brain health is increasingly endorsed across epidemiological and diet-interventional studies. Promising results are found regarding to the protection of proper brain circulation, structure and functionality in healthy and diseased humans and animal models. These include enhanced cerebral blood flow (CBF), white and gray matter integrity, and improved cognitive functioning, and are possibly mediated through increased neurovascular coupling, neuroprotection and neuronal plasticity, respectively. Contrary, studies investigating diets high in saturated fats provide opposite results, which may eventually lead to irreversible damage. Studies like these are of great importance given the high incidence of obesity caused by the increased and decreased consumption of respectively saturated fats and ω3-LCPUFAs in the Western civilization. This paper will review in vivo research conducted on the effects of ω3-LCPUFAs and saturated fatty acids on integrity (circulation, structure and function) of the young, aging and diseased brain. PMID:24485516

  14. Functional connectivity hubs of the mouse brain.

    PubMed

    Liska, Adam; Galbusera, Alberto; Schwarz, Adam J; Gozzi, Alessandro

    2015-07-15

    Recent advances in functional connectivity methods have made it possible to identify brain hubs - a set of highly connected regions serving as integrators of distributed neuronal activity. The integrative role of hub nodes makes these areas points of high vulnerability to dysfunction in brain disorders, and abnormal hub connectivity profiles have been described for several neuropsychiatric disorders. The identification of analogous functional connectivity hubs in preclinical species like the mouse may provide critical insight into the elusive biological underpinnings of these connectional alterations. To spatially locate functional connectivity hubs in the mouse brain, here we applied a fully-weighted network analysis to map whole-brain intrinsic functional connectivity (i.e., the functional connectome) at a high-resolution voxel-scale. Analysis of a large resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rsfMRI) dataset revealed the presence of six distinct functional modules related to known large-scale functional partitions of the brain, including a default-mode network (DMN). Consistent with human studies, highly-connected functional hubs were identified in several sub-regions of the DMN, including the anterior and posterior cingulate and prefrontal cortices, in the thalamus, and in small foci within well-known integrative cortical structures such as the insular and temporal association cortices. According to their integrative role, the identified hubs exhibited mutual preferential interconnections. These findings highlight the presence of evolutionarily-conserved, mutually-interconnected functional hubs in the mouse brain, and may guide future investigations of the biological foundations of aberrant rsfMRI hub connectivity associated with brain pathological states. PMID:25913701

  15. Longitudinal fMRI studies: Exploring brain plasticity and repair in MS.

    PubMed

    Enzinger, Christian; Pinter, Daniela; Rocca, Maria A; De Luca, John; Sastre-Garriga, Jaume; Audoin, Bertrand; Filippi, Massimo

    2016-03-01

    Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has greatly advanced our understanding of cerebral functional changes occurring in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). However, most of our knowledge regarding brain plasticity and repair in MS as evidenced by fMRI has been extrapolated from cross-sectional studies across different phenotypes of the disease. This topical review provides an overview of this research, but also highlights limitations of existing fMRI studies with cross-sectional design. We then review the few existing longitudinal fMRI studies and discuss the feasibility and constraints of serial fMRI in individuals with MS. We further emphasize the potential to track fMRI changes in evolving disease and the insights this may give in terms of mechanisms of adaptation and repair, focusing on serial fMRI to monitor response to disease-modifying therapies or rehabilitation interventions. Finally, we offer recommendations for designing future research studies to overcome previous methodological shortcomings. PMID:26683590

  16. Modeling of functional brain imaging data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Horwitz, Barry

    1999-03-01

    The richness and complexity of data sets obtained from functional neuroimaging studies of human cognitive behavior, using techniques such as positron emission tomography and functional magnetic resonance imaging, have until recently not been exploited by computational neural modeling methods. In this article, following a brief introduction to functional neuroimaging methodology, two neural modeling approaches for use with functional brain imaging data are described. One, which uses structural equation modeling, examines the effective functional connections between various brain regions during specific cognitive tasks. The second employs large-scale neural modeling to relate functional neuroimaging signals in multiple, interconnected brain regions to the underlying neurobiological time-varying activities in each region. These two modeling procedures are illustrated using a visual processing paradigm.

  17. Development of the Brain's Functional Network Architecture

    PubMed Central

    Power, Jonathan D.; Petersen, Steven E.; Schlaggar, Bradley L.

    2013-01-01

    A full understanding of the development of the brain's functional network architecture requires not only an understanding of developmental changes in neural processing in individual brain regions but also an understanding of changes in inter-regional interactions. Resting state functional connectivity MRI (rs-fcMRI) is increasingly being used to study functional interactions between brain regions in both adults and children. We briefly review methods used to study functional interactions and networks with rs-fcMRI and how these methods have been used to define developmental changes in network functional connectivity. The developmental rs-fcMRI studies to date have found two general properties. First, regional interactions change from being predominately anatomically local in children to interactions spanning longer cortical distances in young adults. Second, this developmental change in functional connectivity occurs, in general, via mechanisms of segregation of local regions and integration of distant regions into disparate subnetworks. PMID:20976563

  18. Plasticity of GABAA Receptors during Pregnancy and Postpartum Period: From Gene to Function

    PubMed Central

    Licheri, Valentina; Talani, Giuseppe; Gorule, Ashish A.; Mostallino, Maria Cristina; Biggio, Giovanni; Sanna, Enrico

    2015-01-01

    Pregnancy needs complex pathways that together play a role in proper growth and protection of the fetus preventing its premature loss. Changes during pregnancy and postpartum period include the manifold machinery of neuroactive steroids that plays a crucial role in neuronal excitability by local modulation of specific inhibitory receptors: the GABAA receptors. Marked fluctuations in both blood and brain concentration of neuroactive steroids strongly contribute to GABAA receptor function and plasticity. In this review, we listed several interesting results regarding the regulation and plasticity of GABAA receptor function during pregnancy and postpartum period in rats. The increase in brain levels of neuroactive steroids during pregnancy and their sudden decrease immediately before delivery are causally related to changes in the expression/function of specific GABAA receptor subunits in the hippocampus. These data suggest that alterations in GABAA receptor expression and function may be related to neurological and psychiatric disorders associated with crucial periods in women. These findings could help to provide potential new treatments for these women's disabling syndromes. PMID:26413323

  19. Margaret Kennard (1899–1975): Not a ‘Principle’ of Brain Plasticity But a Founding Mother of Developmental Neuropsychology

    PubMed Central

    Dennis, Maureen

    2009-01-01

    According to the ‘Kennard Principle’, there is a negative linear relation between age at brain injury and functional outcome. Other things being equal, the younger the lesioned organism, the better the outcome. But the ‘Kennard Principle’ is neither Kennard’s nor a principle. In her work, Kennard sought to explain the factors that predicted functional outcome (age, to be sure, but also staging, laterality, location, and number of brain lesions, and outcome domain) and the neural mechanisms that altered the lesioned brain’s functionality. This paper discusses Kennard’s life and years at Yale (1931–1943); considers the genesis and scope of her work on early-onset brain lesions, which represents an empirical and theoretical foundation for current developmental neuropsychology; offers an historical explanation of why the ‘Kennard Principle’ emerged in the context of early 1970s work on brain plasticity; shows why uncritical belief in the ‘Kennard Principle’ continues to shape current research and practice; and reviews the continuing importance of her work. PMID:20079891

  20. Relationship between structural brainstem and brain plasticity and lower-limb training in spinal cord injury: a longitudinal pilot study.

    PubMed

    Villiger, Michael; Grabher, Patrick; Hepp-Reymond, Marie-Claude; Kiper, Daniel; Curt, Armin; Bolliger, Marc; Hotz-Boendermaker, Sabina; Kollias, Spyros; Eng, Kynan; Freund, Patrick

    2015-01-01

    Rehabilitative training has shown to improve significantly motor outcomes and functional walking capacity in patients with incomplete spinal cord injury (iSCI). However, whether performance improvements during rehabilitation relate to brain plasticity or whether it is based on functional adaptation of movement strategies remain uncertain. This study assessed training improvement-induced structural brain plasticity in chronic iSCI patients using longitudinal MRI. We used tensor-based morphometry (TBM) to analyze longitudinal brain volume changes associated with intensive virtual reality (VR)-augmented lower limb training in nine traumatic iSCI patients. The MRI data was acquired before and after a 4-week training period (16-20 training sessions). Before training, voxel-based morphometry (VBM) and voxel-based cortical thickness (VBCT) assessed baseline morphometric differences in nine iSCI patients compared to 14 healthy controls. The intense VR-augmented training of limb control improved significantly balance, walking speed, ambulation, and muscle strength in patients. Retention of clinical improvements was confirmed by the 3-4 months follow-up. In patients relative to controls, VBM revealed reductions of white matter volume within the brainstem and cerebellum and VBCT showed cortical thinning in the primary motor cortex. Over time, TBM revealed significant improvement-induced volume increases in the left middle temporal and occipital gyrus, left temporal pole and fusiform gyrus, both hippocampi, cerebellum, corpus callosum, and brainstem in iSCI patients. This study demonstrates structural plasticity at the cortical and brainstem level as a consequence of VR-augmented training in iSCI patients. These structural changes may serve as neuroimaging biomarkers of VR-augmented lower limb neurorehabilitation in addition to performance measures to detect improvements in rehabilitative training. PMID:25999842

  1. Relationship between structural brainstem and brain plasticity and lower-limb training in spinal cord injury: a longitudinal pilot study

    PubMed Central

    Villiger, Michael; Grabher, Patrick; Hepp-Reymond, Marie-Claude; Kiper, Daniel; Curt, Armin; Bolliger, Marc; Hotz-Boendermaker, Sabina; Kollias, Spyros; Eng, Kynan; Freund, Patrick

    2015-01-01

    Rehabilitative training has shown to improve significantly motor outcomes and functional walking capacity in patients with incomplete spinal cord injury (iSCI). However, whether performance improvements during rehabilitation relate to brain plasticity or whether it is based on functional adaptation of movement strategies remain uncertain. This study assessed training improvement-induced structural brain plasticity in chronic iSCI patients using longitudinal MRI. We used tensor-based morphometry (TBM) to analyze longitudinal brain volume changes associated with intensive virtual reality (VR)-augmented lower limb training in nine traumatic iSCI patients. The MRI data was acquired before and after a 4-week training period (16–20 training sessions). Before training, voxel-based morphometry (VBM) and voxel-based cortical thickness (VBCT) assessed baseline morphometric differences in nine iSCI patients compared to 14 healthy controls. The intense VR-augmented training of limb control improved significantly balance, walking speed, ambulation, and muscle strength in patients. Retention of clinical improvements was confirmed by the 3–4 months follow-up. In patients relative to controls, VBM revealed reductions of white matter volume within the brainstem and cerebellum and VBCT showed cortical thinning in the primary motor cortex. Over time, TBM revealed significant improvement-induced volume increases in the left middle temporal and occipital gyrus, left temporal pole and fusiform gyrus, both hippocampi, cerebellum, corpus callosum, and brainstem in iSCI patients. This study demonstrates structural plasticity at the cortical and brainstem level as a consequence of VR-augmented training in iSCI patients. These structural changes may serve as neuroimaging biomarkers of VR-augmented lower limb neurorehabilitation in addition to performance measures to detect improvements in rehabilitative training. PMID:25999842

  2. [Brain mechanisms of male sexual function].

    PubMed

    Wang, Ying; Dou, Xin; Li, Jun-Fa; Luo, Yan-Lin

    2011-08-01

    In this paper, we reviewed the brain imaging studies of male sexual function in recent years from three aspects: the brain mechanism of normal sexual function, the brain mechanism of sexual dysfunction, and the mechanism of drug therapy for sexual dysfunction. Studies show that the development stages of male sexual activities, such as the excitement phase, plateau phase and orgasm phase, are controlled by different neural networks. The mesodiencephalic transition zone may play an important role in the start up of male ejaculation. There are significant differences between sexual dysfunction males and normal males in activation patterns of the brain in sexual arousal. The medial orbitofrontal cortex and inferior frontal gyrus in the abnormal activation pattern are correlated with sexual dysfunction males in sexual arousal. Serum testosterone and morphine are commonly used drugs for male sexual dysfunction, whose mechanisms are to alter the activating levels of the medial orbitofrontal cortex, insula, claustrum and inferior temporal gyrus. PMID:21899000

  3. Lead poisoning and brain cell function

    SciTech Connect

    Goldstein, G.W. Kennedy Institute, Baltimore, MD )

    1990-11-01

    Exposure to excessive amounts of inorganic lead during the toddler years may produce lasting adverse effects upon brain function. Maximal ingestion of lead occurs at an age when major changes are occurring in the density of brain synaptic connections. The developmental reorganization of synapses is, in part, mediated by protein kinases, and these enzymes are particularly sensitive to stimulation by lead. By inappropriately activating specific protein kinases, lead poisoning may disrupt the development of neural networks without producing overt pathological alterations. The blood-brain barrier is another potential vulnerable site for the neurotoxic action of lead. protein kinases appear to regulate the development of brain capillaries and the expression of the blood-brain barrier properties. Stimulation of protein kinase by lead may disrupt barrier development and alter the precise regulation of the neuronal environment that is required for normal brain function. Together, these findings suggest that the sensitivity of protein kinases to lead may in part underlie the brain dysfunction observed in children poisoned by this toxicant.

  4. Toward discovery science of human brain function.

    PubMed

    Biswal, Bharat B; Mennes, Maarten; Zuo, Xi-Nian; Gohel, Suril; Kelly, Clare; Smith, Steve M; Beckmann, Christian F; Adelstein, Jonathan S; Buckner, Randy L; Colcombe, Stan; Dogonowski, Anne-Marie; Ernst, Monique; Fair, Damien; Hampson, Michelle; Hoptman, Matthew J; Hyde, James S; Kiviniemi, Vesa J; Kötter, Rolf; Li, Shi-Jiang; Lin, Ching-Po; Lowe, Mark J; Mackay, Clare; Madden, David J; Madsen, Kristoffer H; Margulies, Daniel S; Mayberg, Helen S; McMahon, Katie; Monk, Christopher S; Mostofsky, Stewart H; Nagel, Bonnie J; Pekar, James J; Peltier, Scott J; Petersen, Steven E; Riedl, Valentin; Rombouts, Serge A R B; Rypma, Bart; Schlaggar, Bradley L; Schmidt, Sein; Seidler, Rachael D; Siegle, Greg J; Sorg, Christian; Teng, Gao-Jun; Veijola, Juha; Villringer, Arno; Walter, Martin; Wang, Lihong; Weng, Xu-Chu; Whitfield-Gabrieli, Susan; Williamson, Peter; Windischberger, Christian; Zang, Yu-Feng; Zhang, Hong-Ying; Castellanos, F Xavier; Milham, Michael P

    2010-03-01

    Although it is being successfully implemented for exploration of the genome, discovery science has eluded the functional neuroimaging community. The core challenge remains the development of common paradigms for interrogating the myriad functional systems in the brain without the constraints of a priori hypotheses. Resting-state functional MRI (R-fMRI) constitutes a candidate approach capable of addressing this challenge. Imaging the brain during rest reveals large-amplitude spontaneous low-frequency (<0.1 Hz) fluctuations in the fMRI signal that are temporally correlated across functionally related areas. Referred to as functional connectivity, these correlations yield detailed maps of complex neural systems, collectively constituting an individual's "functional connectome." Reproducibility across datasets and individuals suggests the functional connectome has a common architecture, yet each individual's functional connectome exhibits unique features, with stable, meaningful interindividual differences in connectivity patterns and strengths. Comprehensive mapping of the functional connectome, and its subsequent exploitation to discern genetic influences and brain-behavior relationships, will require multicenter collaborative datasets. Here we initiate this endeavor by gathering R-fMRI data from 1,414 volunteers collected independently at 35 international centers. We demonstrate a universal architecture of positive and negative functional connections, as well as consistent loci of inter-individual variability. Age and sex emerged as significant determinants. These results demonstrate that independent R-fMRI datasets can be aggregated and shared. High-throughput R-fMRI can provide quantitative phenotypes for molecular genetic studies and biomarkers of developmental and pathological processes in the brain. To initiate discovery science of brain function, the 1000 Functional Connectomes Project dataset is freely accessible at www.nitrc.org/projects/fcon_1000/. PMID

  5. Mother’s voice and heartbeat sounds elicit auditory plasticity in the human brain before full gestation

    PubMed Central

    Webb, Alexandra R.; Heller, Howard T.; Benson, Carol B.; Lahav, Amir

    2015-01-01

    Brain development is largely shaped by early sensory experience. However, it is currently unknown whether, how early, and to what extent the newborn’s brain is shaped by exposure to maternal sounds when the brain is most sensitive to early life programming. The present study examined this question in 40 infants born extremely prematurely (between 25- and 32-wk gestation) in the first month of life. Newborns were randomized to receive auditory enrichment in the form of audio recordings of maternal sounds (including their mother’s voice and heartbeat) or routine exposure to hospital environmental noise. The groups were otherwise medically and demographically comparable. Cranial ultrasonography measurements were obtained at 30 ± 3 d of life. Results show that newborns exposed to maternal sounds had a significantly larger auditory cortex (AC) bilaterally compared with control newborns receiving standard care. The magnitude of the right and left AC thickness was significantly correlated with gestational age but not with the duration of sound exposure. Measurements of head circumference and the widths of the frontal horn (FH) and the corpus callosum (CC) were not significantly different between the two groups. This study provides evidence for experience-dependent plasticity in the primary AC before the brain has reached full-term maturation. Our results demonstrate that despite the immaturity of the auditory pathways, the AC is more adaptive to maternal sounds than environmental noise. Further studies are needed to better understand the neural processes underlying this early brain plasticity and its functional implications for future hearing and language development. PMID:25713382

  6. Peroxisomes in brain development and function.

    PubMed

    Berger, Johannes; Dorninger, Fabian; Forss-Petter, Sonja; Kunze, Markus

    2016-05-01

    Peroxisomes contain numerous enzymatic activities that are important for mammalian physiology. Patients lacking either all peroxisomal functions or a single enzyme or transporter function typically develop severe neurological deficits, which originate from aberrant development of the brain, demyelination and loss of axonal integrity, neuroinflammation or other neurodegenerative processes. Whilst correlating peroxisomal properties with a compilation of pathologies observed in human patients and mouse models lacking all or individual peroxisomal functions, we discuss the importance of peroxisomal metabolites and tissue- and cell type-specific contributions to the observed brain pathologies. This enables us to deconstruct the local and systemic contribution of individual metabolic pathways to specific brain functions. We also review the recently discovered variability of pathological symptoms in cases with unexpectedly mild presentation of peroxisome biogenesis disorders. Finally, we explore the emerging evidence linking peroxisomes to more common neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, autism and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. PMID:26686055

  7. Adaptive Motor Imagery: A Multimodal Study of Immobilization-Induced Brain Plasticity.

    PubMed

    Burianová, Hana; Sowman, Paul F; Marstaller, Lars; Rich, Anina N; Williams, Mark A; Savage, Greg; Al-Janabi, Shahd; de Lissa, Peter; Johnson, Blake W

    2016-03-01

    The consequences of losing the ability to move a limb are traumatic. One approach that examines the impact of pathological limb nonuse on the brain involves temporary immobilization of a healthy limb. Here, we investigated immobilization-induced plasticity in the motor imagery (MI) circuitry during hand immobilization. We assessed these changes with a multimodal paradigm, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure neural activation, magnetoencephalography (MEG) to track neuronal oscillatory dynamics, and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to assess corticospinal excitability. fMRI results show a significant decrease in neural activation for MI of the constrained hand, localized to sensorimotor areas contralateral to the immobilized hand. MEG results show a significant decrease in beta desynchronization and faster resynchronization in sensorimotor areas contralateral to the immobilized hand. TMS results show a significant increase in resting motor threshold in motor cortex contralateral to the constrained hand, suggesting a decrease in corticospinal excitability in the projections to the constrained hand. These results demonstrate a direct and rapid effect of immobilization on MI processes of the constrained hand, suggesting that limb nonuse may not only affect motor execution, as evidenced by previous studies, but also MI. These findings have important implications for the effectiveness of therapeutic approaches that use MI as a rehabilitation tool to ameliorate the negative effects of limb nonuse. PMID:25477368

  8. Evidence for training-induced plasticity in multisensory brain structures: an MEG study.

    PubMed

    Paraskevopoulos, Evangelos; Kuchenbuch, Anja; Herholz, Sibylle C; Pantev, Christo

    2012-01-01

    Multisensory learning and resulting neural brain plasticity have recently become a topic of renewed interest in human cognitive neuroscience. Music notation reading is an ideal stimulus to study multisensory learning, as it allows studying the integration of visual, auditory and sensorimotor information processing. The present study aimed at answering whether multisensory learning alters uni-sensory structures, interconnections of uni-sensory structures or specific multisensory areas. In a short-term piano training procedure musically naive subjects were trained to play tone sequences from visually presented patterns in a music notation-like system [Auditory-Visual-Somatosensory group (AVS)], while another group received audio-visual training only that involved viewing the patterns and attentively listening to the recordings of the AVS training sessions [Auditory-Visual group (AV)]. Training-related changes in cortical networks were assessed by pre- and post-training magnetoencephalographic (MEG) recordings of an auditory, a visual and an integrated audio-visual mismatch negativity (MMN). The two groups (AVS and AV) were differently affected by the training. The results suggest that multisensory training alters the function of multisensory structures, and not the uni-sensory ones along with their interconnections, and thus provide an answer to an important question presented by cognitive models of multisensory training. PMID:22570723

  9. Lrp4 domains differentially regulate limb/brain development and synaptic plasticity.

    PubMed

    Pohlkamp, Theresa; Durakoglugil, Murat; Lane-Donovan, Courtney; Xian, Xunde; Johnson, Eric B; Hammer, Robert E; Herz, Joachim

    2015-01-01

    Apolipoprotein E (ApoE) genotype is the strongest predictor of Alzheimer's Disease (AD) risk. ApoE is a cholesterol transport protein that binds to members of the Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) Receptor family, which includes LDL Receptor Related Protein 4 (Lrp4). Lrp4, together with one of its ligands Agrin and its co-receptors Muscle Specific Kinase (MuSK) and Amyloid Precursor Protein (APP), regulates neuromuscular junction (NMJ) formation. All four proteins are also expressed in the adult brain, and APP, MuSK, and Agrin are required for normal synapse function in the CNS. Here, we show that Lrp4 is also required for normal hippocampal plasticity. In contrast to the closely related Lrp8/Apoer2, the intracellular domain of Lrp4 does not appear to be necessary for normal expression and maintenance of long-term potentiation at central synapses or for the formation and maintenance of peripheral NMJs. However, it does play a role in limb development. PMID:25688974

  10. Lrp4 Domains Differentially Regulate Limb/Brain Development and Synaptic Plasticity

    PubMed Central

    Pohlkamp, Theresa; Durakoglugil, Murat; Lane-Donovan, Courtney; Xian, Xunde; Johnson, Eric B.; Hammer, Robert E.; Herz, Joachim

    2015-01-01

    Apolipoprotein E (ApoE) genotype is the strongest predictor of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) risk. ApoE is a cholesterol transport protein that binds to members of the Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) Receptor family, which includes LDL Receptor Related Protein 4 (Lrp4). Lrp4, together with one of its ligands Agrin and its co-receptors Muscle Specific Kinase (MuSK) and Amyloid Precursor Protein (APP), regulates neuromuscular junction (NMJ) formation. All four proteins are also expressed in the adult brain, and APP, MuSK, and Agrin are required for normal synapse function in the CNS. Here, we show that Lrp4 is also required for normal hippocampal plasticity. In contrast to the closely related Lrp8/Apoer2, the intracellular domain of Lrp4 does not appear to be necessary for normal expression and maintenance of long-term potentiation at central synapses or for the formation and maintenance of peripheral NMJs. However, it does play a role in limb development. PMID:25688974