Dynamic network connectivity: A new form of neuroplasticity

Amy F.T. Arnsten, Constantinos D. Paspalas, Nao J. Gamo, Yang Yang, Min Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

133 Scopus citations


Prefrontal cortical (PFC) working memory functions depend on pyramidal cell networks that interconnect on dendritic spines. Recent research has revealed that the strength of PFC network connections can be rapidly and reversibly increased or decreased by molecular signaling events within slender, elongated spines: a process we term Dynamic Network Connectivity (DNC). This newly discovered form of neuroplasticity provides great flexibility in mental state, but also confers vulnerability and limits mental capacity. A remarkable number of genetic and/or environmental insults to DNC signaling cascades are associated with cognitive disorders such as schizophrenia and age-related cognitive decline. These insults can dysregulate network connections and erode higher cognitive abilities, leading to symptoms such as forgetfulness, susceptibility to interference, and disorganized thought and behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-375
Number of pages11
JournalTrends in Cognitive Sciences
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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