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Rewiring the connectome: evidence and effects

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-62
JournalNeuroscience and biobehavioral reviews
Early online date11 Mar 2018
Accepted/In press1 Mar 2018
E-pub ahead of print11 Mar 2018


King's Authors


Neuronal connections form the physical basis for communication in the brain. Recently, there has been much interest in mapping the “connectome” to understand how brain structure gives rise to brain function, and ultimately, to behaviour. These attempts to map the connectome have largely assumed that connections are stable once formed. Recent studies, however, indicate that connections in mammalian brains may undergo rewiring during learning and experience-dependent plasticity. This suggests that the connectome is more dynamic than previously thought. To what extent can neural circuitry be rewired in the healthy adult brain? The connectome has been subdivided into multiple levels of scale, from synapses and microcircuits through to long-range tracts. Here, we examine the evidence for rewiring at each level. We then consider the role played by rewiring during learning. We conclude that harnessing rewiring offers new avenues to treat brain diseases.

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