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Competition in the development of nerve connections

Arjen van Ooyen A.van.Ooyen at nih.knaw.nl
Thu Feb 22 23:09:41 EST 2001

New Paper:

Competition in the Development of Nerve Connections:
A Review of Models

Network: Computation in Neural Systems (2001) 12: R1-R47

by Arjen van Ooyen

Please download (free) from Network:

or via my website


The establishment and refinement of neural circuits involve both the
formation of new connections and the elimination of already existing 
connections. Elimination of connections occurs, for example, in the 
development of mononeural innervation of muscle fibres and in the 
formation of ocular dominance columns in the visual cortex.
The process that leads to the elimination of connections is often
referred to as axonal or synaptic competition. 

Although the notion of competition is commonly used, the process 
is not well understood -- with respect to, for example, the type of
competition, what axons and synapses are competing for, and the
role of electrical activity.
This article reviews the types of competition that have been
distinguished and the models of competition that have been proposed. 
Models of both the neuromuscular system and the visual system 
are described. For each of these models, the assumptions on which 
it is based, its mathematical structure, and the extent to which
it is supported by the experimental data are evaluated.
Special attention is given to the different modelling approaches
and the role of electrical activity in competition. 

Arjen van Ooyen, Netherlands Institute for Brain Research,
Meibergdreef 33, 1105 AZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
email: A.van.Ooyen at nih.knaw.nl 
website: http://www.anc.ed.ac.uk/~arjen
phone: +31.20.5665483  fax: +31.20.6961006


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