The Composition, Development, and Regeneration of Neuromuscular Junctions.
The neuromuscular junction (NMJ) is the specialized site that connects the terminal of a motor neuron axon to skeletal muscle. As a synapse NMJ integrity is essential for transducing motor neuron signals that initiate skeletal muscle contraction. Many diseases and skeletal muscle aging are linked to impaired NMJ function and the associated muscle wasting. In this chapter we review the components of an NMJ and, the processes of NMJ development, maturation, and regeneration. Also, we briefly discuss the cellular and molecular mechanisms of NMJ decline in the context of disease and aging.