Axon pruning: An essential step underlying the developmental plasticity of neuronal connections

Lawrence K. Low, Hwai-Jong Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

164 Scopus citations


Regressive events play a key role in modifying neural connectivity in early development. An important regressive event is the pruning of neuronal processes. Pruning is a strategy often used to selectively remove exuberant neuronal branches and connections in the immature nervous system to ensure the proper formation of functional circuitry. In the following review, we discuss our present understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate the pruning of axons during neuronal development as well as in neurological diseases. The evidence suggests that there are several similarities between the mechanisms that are involved in developmental axon pruning and axon elimination in disease. In summary, these findings provide researchers with a unique perspective on how developmental plasticity is achieved and how to develop strategies to treat complex neurological diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1531-1544
Number of pages14
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1473
StatePublished - Sep 29 2006


  • Axon degeneration
  • Axon pruning
  • Axon retraction
  • Wallerian degeneration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)


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