The adult CNS is remarkably adaptable - it retains the ability to generate and integrate new cells, and remodel pre-existing circuits.
Intense research over the last 25 years has provided critical insight into the cell generation and differentiation potential of endogenous neural stem and progenitor cells, and has described three core CNS plasticity mechanisms.
While we are still a long way from fully understanding how neural plasticity is regulated from the level of the individual cell, through to the level of the neural network, there is growing evidence to support the idea that neurogenesis, synaptogenesis and myelin remodelling dynamically and co-operatively alter the structure and function of neural circuits in the adult CNS.
Dr. Kaylene M Young, who comes from University of Tasmania, Australia, highlights the potential for interaction between key CNS plasticity mechanisms.
While new genetic and imaging tools have led to major advances in our understanding of each plasticity mechanism separately, much work remains to be done to determine whether synaptic plasticity, neurogenesis and myelin plasticity operate in a coordinated and synergistic manner, as we have proposed, to regulate neural networks and support functions such as learning and memory, which span multiple CNS regions.
The relevant study has been published in Neural Regeneration Research Research (Vol. 9, No. 13, 2014).
Article: " Adult myelination: wrapping up neuronal plasticity" by Megan O'Rourke1, Robert Gasperini1, 2, Kaylene M. Young1 (1 Menzies Research Institute Tasmania, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia, 7000; 2 The School of Medicine, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia, 7000)
O'Rourke M, Gasperini R, Young KM. Adult myelination: wrapping up neuronal plasticity. Neural Regen Res. 2014;9(13):1261-1264.