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Brain Damage, Brain Repair$
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James W. Fawcett, Anne E. Rosser, and Stephen B. Dunnett

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780198523376

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198523376.001.0001

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Anatomical plasticity

Anatomical plasticity

Chapter:
(p.171) 13 Anatomical plasticity
Source:
Brain Damage, Brain Repair
Author(s):

James W. Fawcett

Anne E. Rosser

Stephen B. Dunnett

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198523376.003.0013

In mammals, after damage to major axon tracts or large areas of neuronal tissue, there is permanent loss of function. Axons will not regenerate, and killed neurones are not replaced. This is in contrast to animals below the evolutionary level of the primitive amphibia, in which there is eventually an almost complete recovery of function, and early mammalian embryos have similar abilities. This is made possible by the regeneration of cut axons, and the replacement of lost neurones. The ability to regenerate central nervous system (CNS) axons over long distances and to replace large numbers of lost neurons is lost in evolutionary terms round the level of the primitive frogs, and in developmental terms around late limb-bud stages in mammalian embryos. However, even the mammalian CNS does have a considerable ability to readjust to functional loss. Thus, immediately after a stroke, patients will often have complete paralysis down one side of the body, but in the ensuing months a large proportion of the lost function may return.

Keywords:   neuronal tissue, CNS regeneration, lost neurons, mammalian embryos, functional loss, stroke

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