Atypical embryonic synapses fail to regenerate in adulthood

Anne D. Kloos, Kenneth J. Müller, Barbara K. Modney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Functional recovery following central nervous system (CNS) injury in adult animals may depend on the reestablishment of the precise pattern of connections made during development. When the nervous system is injured during embryonic development, functional recovery may involve the formation of atypical connections. Can such atypical synapses regenerate in adults, particularly in a nervous system known for its capacity for repair? When the S interneuron in one segmental ganglion of the leech Hirudo is killed during development, two neighboring S cells extend their axons into the ganglion and restore function by making electrical synapses with the usual synaptic targets of the killed S cell. Although adult S-cell axons reliably regenerated their usual synaptic connections, the novel synapses induced following embryonic injury failed to regenerate in adults. In these preparations severed S-cell axons did not reach the denervated ganglion but grew close to it, independent of the distance required to grow. Thus, the developmental changes that permit aberrant but functional connections in embryos do not lead to a similar change in the capacity for axon growth and subsequent synapse regeneration in adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)404-411
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2007


  • Developmental plasticity
  • Leech
  • Novel synapses
  • Regeneration
  • S cell
  • Synaptogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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