Formation of synapses and the changes in their connections during life are the basis for learning and memory and recovery from brain disease or injury. Much interest has been focused on how synapses function at the molecular level, while the cell-cell interactions controlling the formation receive far less attention. This book expands the scope of inquiry beyond the synaptic cleft to provide a comprehensive insight into how intercellular signalling enables neurons to communicate beyond the synapse, and to interact with other cells in the brain to alter synaptic connections appropriately. There are chapters devoted to consideration of glia, brain cells which have thus far been igred in the majority of studies of learning and memory. Writing for academic researchers and professionals, contributors to this book reveal that there is much to learning and memory that lies beyond the synapse.
Doug Fields has worked at the NIH since 1987, where he now runs the Nervous System Development and Plasticity section. Originally a marine biologist, Dr Fields' primary research interests have always been based around the synapse. He is currently Editor-in-Chief of Neuron Glia Biology.