Plasticity and injury in the developing brain

Michael V. Johnston, Akira Ishida, Wako Nakajima Ishida, Hiroko Baber Matsushita, Akira Nishimura, Masahiro Tsuji

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The child's brain is more malleable or plastic than that of adults and this accounts for the ability of children to learn new skills quickly or recovery from brain injuries. Several mechanisms contribute to this ability including overproduction and deletion of neurons and synapses, and activity-dependent stabilization of synapses. The molecular mechanisms for activity-dependent synaptic plasticity are being discovered and this is leading to a better understanding of the pathogenesis of several disorders including neurofibromatosis, tuberous sclerosis, Fragile X syndrome and Rett syndrome. Many of the same pathways involved in synaptic plasticity, such as glutamate-mediated excitation, can also mediate brain injury when the brain is exposed to stress or energy failure such as hypoxia-ischemia. Recent evidence indicates that cell death pathways activated by injury differ between males and females. This new information about the molecular pathways involved in brain plasticity and injury are leading to insights that will provide better therapies for pediatric neurological disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalBrain and Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009


  • AMPA
  • Fragile X syndrome
  • Hypoxia-ischemia
  • Injury
  • NMDA
  • Periventricular leukomalacia
  • Plasticity
  • Rett syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Plasticity and injury in the developing brain'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this