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Neuronal growth and the Steiner problem.

Authors
  • Traverso, S
  • Morchio, R
  • Tamone, G
Type
Published Article
Journal
Rivista di biologia
Publication Date
Jan 01, 1992
Volume
85
Issue
3-4
Pages
405–418
Identifiers
PMID: 1341834
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

In this paper we conjecture that neuronal networks develop following an optimality principle. We point out that a neuronal outgrowth in culture may be seen as the solution of a classical optimization problem: the "Steiner Problem". A neuron might grow minimizing a "cost", which may be determined by the viscoelastic properties of the neuron cytoplasm. We then discuss the role of chemiotactic factors such as the Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) in an optimized neuronal development in vivo. Finally we suggest, with some mathematical arguments, that the optimization of the elastic forces in the growing neuron may give rise to a "fractal" structure.

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