The ability of neurons in the central nervous system (CNS) to alter their synaptic configuration in response to external stimuli is called “neuronal plasticity.” Plasticity, which occurs during development as the organization of the brain is established and during adult life as changes that underlie learning and memory, is regulated by various factors that ultimately influence cellular physiology. This chapter shows the way changes in gene expression can be correlated with electrophysiological and anatomical studies, the way coordinated changes in gene expression can be monitored, and the way the subcellular compartmentalization of mRNAs may be involved in plasticity-related responses. The techniques of molecular biology is used to study these issues in cultured striatal cells, cultured hippocampal cells, and hippocampal cells in the live slice preparation. Different physiologies are assessed in these experiments. The studies described in the chapter were facilitated through the development of amplified antisense RNA technology.
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