Brain plasticity and genetic factors

Kristin M. Pearson-Fuhrhop, Jeffrey A. Kleim, Steven C. Cramer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Brain plasticity refers to changes in brain function and structure that arise in a number of contexts. One area in which brain plasticity is of considerable interest is recovery from stroke, both spontaneous and treatment-induced. A number of factors influence these poststroke brain events. The current review considers the impact of genetic factors. Polymorphisms in the human genes coding for brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and apolipoprotein E (ApoE) have been studied in the context of plasticity and/or stroke recovery and are discussed here in detail. Several other genetic polymorphisms are indirectly involved in stroke recovery through their modulating influences on processes such as depression and pharmacotherapy effects. Finally, new genetic polymorphisms that have not been studied in the context of stroke are proposed as new directions for study. A better understanding of genetic influences on recovery and response to therapy might allow improved treatment after stroke.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)282-299
Number of pages18
JournalTopics in Stroke Rehabilitation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • ApoE
  • BDNF
  • Genetics
  • Plasticity
  • Rehabilitation
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Community and Home Care
  • Clinical Neurology


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