Competition in neurite outgrowth and the development of nerve connections
Van Ooyen, A. (2005). In: Van Pelt, J. Kamermans, M., Levelt, C. N., Van Ooyen, A., Ramakers, G. J. A., and Roelfsema, P. R., eds. Development, Dynamics and Pathology of Neuronal Networks: From Molecules to Functional Circuits, Progress in Brain Research 147. Amsterdam: Elsevier, pp. 81-99. [Full text: PDF]
During the development of the nervous system, neurons form their characteristic morphologies and become assembled into synaptically connected networks. In both neuronal morphogenesis and the development of nerve connections, competition plays an important role. Although the notion of competition is commonly used in neurobiology, there is little understanding of the nature of the competitive process and the underlying molecular and cellular mechanisms. In this chapter, we review a model of competition between outgrowing neurites, as well as various models of competition that have been proposed for the refinement of connections that takes place in the development of the neuromuscular and visual systems. We describe in detail a model that links competition in the development of nerve connections with the underlying actions and biochemistry of neurotrophic factors.