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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 541870, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/541870
Review Article

Adult Neuroplasticity: More Than 40 Years of Research

1German Primate Center, Leibniz Institute for Primate Research, Kellnerweg 4, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
2Department of Neurology, Medical School, University of Göttingen, 37075 Göttingen, Germany

Received 15 January 2014; Accepted 9 April 2014; Published 4 May 2014

Academic Editor: Paul Lucassen

Copyright © 2014 Eberhard Fuchs and Gabriele Flügge. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Within the last four decades, our view of the mature vertebrate brain has changed significantly. Today it is generally accepted that the adult brain is far from being fixed. A number of factors such as stress, adrenal and gonadal hormones, neurotransmitters, growth factors, certain drugs, environmental stimulation, learning, and aging change neuronal structures and functions. The processes that these factors may induce are morphological alterations in brain areas, changes in neuron morphology, network alterations including changes in neuronal connectivity, the generation of new neurons (neurogenesis), and neurobiochemical changes. Here we review several aspects of neuroplasticity and discuss the functional implications of the neuroplastic capacities of the adult and differentiated brain with reference to the history of their discovery.