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Trends in Neurosciences

Benayahu Elbaz, Brian Popko
Myelin is a multilayer lipid membrane structure that wraps and insulates axons, allowing for the efficient propagation of action potentials. During developmental myelination of the central nervous system (CNS), oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) proliferate and migrate to their final destination, where they terminally differentiate into mature oligodendrocytes and myelinate axons. Lineage progression and terminal differentiation of oligodendrocyte lineage cells are under tight transcriptional and post-transcriptional control...
February 12, 2019: Trends in Neurosciences
Ramesh Chittajallu, Carolina Bengtsson Gonzales, Chris J McBain
The multifaceted functions of the brain are borne through seemingly infinite spatiotemporal interactions between its resident neural elements. Using a combinatorial approach, Schuman and colleagues (J. Neurosci. 2018;39:125-139) recently identify four layer 1 cortical interneuron subtypes, including a hitherto uncharacterized neuron they term the 'canopy' cell. Properties unique to each of the subtypes likely endow them with distinct roles in top-down processing.
January 31, 2019: Trends in Neurosciences
Pablo Izquierdo, David Attwell, Christian Madry
Microglia provide immune surveillance of the CNS. They display diverse behaviors, including nondirectional and directed motility of their processes, phagocytosis of targets such as dying neurons or superfluous synapses, and generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and cytokines. Many of these functions are mediated by ion channels and cell surface receptors, the expression of which varies with the many morphological and functional states that microglial cells can adopt. Recent progress in understanding microglial function has been facilitated by applying classical cell physiological techniques in situ, such as patch-clamping and live imaging, and cell-specific transcriptomic analyses...
January 22, 2019: Trends in Neurosciences
Jason S Snyder
Conflicting reports about whether adult hippocampal neurogenesis occurs in humans raise questions about its significance for human health and the relevance of animal models. Drawing upon published data, I review species' neurogenesis rates across the lifespan and propose that accelerated neurodevelopmental timing is consistent with lower rates of neurogenesis in adult primates and humans. Nonetheless, protracted neurogenesis may produce populations of neurons that retain plastic properties for long intervals, and have distinct functions depending on when in the lifespan they were born...
January 18, 2019: Trends in Neurosciences
Dáibhid Ó Maoiléidigh, Anthony J Ricci
In the inner ear, the deflection of hair bundles, the sensory organelles of hair cells, activates mechanically-gated channels (MGCs). Hair bundles monitor orientation of the head, its angular and linear acceleration, and detect sound. Force applied to MGCs is shaped by intrinsic hair-bundle properties, by the mechanical load on the bundle, and by the filter imparted by the environment of the hair bundle. Channel gating and adaptation, the ability of the bundle to reset its operating point, contribute to hair-bundle mechanics...
January 17, 2019: Trends in Neurosciences
Robert A McCutcheon, Anissa Abi-Dargham, Oliver D Howes
The mesolimbic hypothesis has been a central dogma of schizophrenia for decades, positing that aberrant functioning of midbrain dopamine projections to limbic regions causes psychotic symptoms. Recently, however, advances in neuroimaging techniques have led to the unanticipated finding that dopaminergic dysfunction in schizophrenia is greatest within nigrostriatal pathways, implicating the dorsal striatum in the pathophysiology and calling into question the mesolimbic theory. At the same time our knowledge of striatal anatomy and function has progressed, suggesting new mechanisms via which striatal dysfunction may contribute to the symptoms of schizophrenia...
January 6, 2019: Trends in Neurosciences
Camille Leonetti, Stephen A Back, Vittorio Gallo, Nobuyuki Ishibashi
Congenital heart disease (CHD) is among the most common birth defects. Children with CHD frequently display long-term intellectual and behavioral disability. Emerging evidence indicates that cardiac anomalies lead to a reduction in cerebral oxygenation, which appears to profoundly impact on the maturation of cerebral regions responsible for higher-order cognitive functions. In this review we focus on the potential mechanisms by which dysregulation of cortical neuronal development during early life may lead to the significant cognitive impairments that commonly occur in children with CHD...
January 4, 2019: Trends in Neurosciences
Tychele N Turner, Evan E Eichler
Advances in sequencing technology have significantly expanded our understanding of the genetics of autism and neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs). Continued technological improvements and cost reductions have now shifted the focus to investigations into the functional noncoding portions of the genome. There is a patient trend toward an excess of de novo and potentially disruptive mutations among conserved noncoding sequences implicated in the regulation of genes. The signals become stronger when restricted to genes already implicated in NDDs, but de novo mutation in such elements is estimated to account for <5% of patients...
December 15, 2018: Trends in Neurosciences
Maria Nguyen, Yvette C Wong, Daniel Ysselstein, Alex Severino, Dimitri Krainc
The discovery of genetic forms of Parkinson's disease (PD) has highlighted the importance of the autophagy/lysosomal and mitochondrial/oxidative stress pathways in disease pathogenesis. However, recently identified PD-linked genes, including DNAJC6 (auxilin), SYNJ1 (synaptojanin 1), and the PD risk gene SH3GL2 (endophilin A1), have also highlighted disruptions in synaptic vesicle endocytosis (SVE) as a significant contributor to disease pathogenesis. Additionally, the roles of other PD genes such as LRRK2, PRKN, and VPS35 in the regulation of SVE are beginning to emerge...
November 30, 2018: Trends in Neurosciences
Jesse I Gilmer, Abigail L Person
Cerebellar granule cells are a popular target of neuroanatomical hyperbole, being so small and so numerous. Early theorists proposed unique roles for this vast cell population, ideas that continue to be tested through contemporary approaches. In 2017, a cluster of empirical and theoretical papers offered a fresh and singular look into the functions of granule cells and the computational advantages of their idiosyncratic circuit organization.
December 2018: Trends in Neurosciences
Adi Mizrahi
Across the animal kingdom, odors are known as potent stimuli that directly steer behavior. In 2007, Hitoshi Sakano and colleagues used the power of mouse genetics to manipulate the odor map in the olfactory bulb. Elegant behavioral, anatomical, and physiological analyses revealed an apparent dichotomy in how the brain interprets the odor map. Their work paved a way to think of behavioral contingencies as part of early olfactory processing, highlighting innate and learned pathways.
December 2018: Trends in Neurosciences
Daniel J Merk, Rosalind A Segal
The Hedgehog (Hh) pathway is a highly conserved signaling system regulating a range of developmental processes. A 1997 paper by Goodrich and colleagues provided major contributions to understanding the Hh pathway by mutating the gene encoding the Hh receptor, Patched, and thereby developing a mouse model for a human cancer predisposition syndrome, known as Gorlin syndrome. These studies provided one of the first genetically engineered mouse models for brain tumors.
December 2018: Trends in Neurosciences
Claire Wyart
Locomotion is generated by intrinsically oscillating circuits in the spinal cord that are modulated by information from the brain and periphery. In their seminal 1987 publication, Buchanan and Grillner provided for the first time evidence for excitatory spinal neurons receiving inputs from descending commands and sensory afferents, and synapsing onto motoneurons and commissural inhibitory interneurons. These critical findings established the circuit model for central pattern generators incorporating excitatory interneurons' role in the rhythm-production mechanism...
December 2018: Trends in Neurosciences
Anna-Katharine Brem, Stefano L Sensi
Aging-related cognitive decline represents a critical risk factor for the development of dementia and is associated with global neurophysiological changes. It is imperative to act early, while the neural reserve is still sufficient, to prevent or postpone cognitive decline. Given that no significant modifying pharmacological intervention is available, a focus on pharmacological agents alone seems insufficient. We argue that combinations of different approaches are most effective in stimulating long-lasting molecular changes that restore, promote, and preserve cognition through the modulation of cognitively relevant neurotransmitter systems that ultimately converge in driving neurotrophic signaling...
December 2018: Trends in Neurosciences
Ruslan Rust, Lisa Grönnert, Martin E Schwab
After injury, activation and recruitment of inflammatory and immune cells has been thought to occur throughout the whole body. A recent study shows that after brain injury in mice, immune cells are primarily recruited from nearby skull bone marrow and invade the brain through microscopic vascular channels. Manipulation of this process may provide new therapeutic options.
December 2018: Trends in Neurosciences
Shane M McMahon, Meyer B Jackson
Recent advances in Ca2+ imaging have given neuroscientists a tool to follow the activity of large numbers of individual neurons simultaneously in vivo in the brains of animals as they are presented with sensory stimulation, respond to environmental challenges, and engage in behaviors. The Ca2+ sensors used to transduce changes in cellular Ca2+ into changes in fluorescence must bind Ca2+ to produce a signal. By binding Ca2+ , these sensors can act as buffers, often reducing the magnitude of a Ca2+ change severalfold, and producing a proportional slowing of the rates of change...
December 2018: Trends in Neurosciences
Alexey Ostroumov, John A Dani
Behavioral adaptations occur through remodeling of brain circuits, as arising, for instance, from experience-dependent synaptic plasticity. Drugs of abuse and aversive stimuli, such as stress, act on the mesocorticolimbic system, dysregulating adaptive mechanisms and leading to a variety of aberrant behaviors associated with neuropsychiatric disorders. Until recently, research in the field has commonly focused on experience-dependent synaptic plasticity at excitatory synapses. However, there is growing evidence that synaptic plasticity within inhibitory circuits is an important contributor to maladaptive behaviors...
December 2018: Trends in Neurosciences
Benjamin D Umans, Stephen D Liberles
Many internal organs change volume periodically. For example, the stomach accommodates ingested food and drink, the bladder stores urine, the heart fills with blood, and the lungs expand with every breath. Specialized peripheral sensory neurons function as mechanoreceptors that detect tissue stretch to infer changes in organ volume and then relay this information to the brain. Central neural circuits process this information and evoke perceptions (satiety, nausea), control physiology (breathing, heart rate), and impact behavior (feeding, micturition)...
December 2018: Trends in Neurosciences
Jinhong Luo, Steffen R Hage, Cynthia F Moss
Understanding the neural underpinnings of vocal-motor control in humans and other animals remains a major challenge in neurobiology. The Lombard effect - a rise in call amplitude in response to background noise - has been demonstrated in a wide range of vertebrates. Here, we review both behavioral and neurophysiological data and propose that the Lombard effect is driven by a subcortical neural network, which can be modulated by cortical processes. The proposed framework offers mechanistic explanations for two fundamental features of the Lombard effect: its widespread taxonomic distribution across the vertebrate phylogenetic tree and the widely observed variations in compensation magnitude...
December 2018: Trends in Neurosciences
Wei-Chao Huang, Kathleen Bennett, Christopher Gregg
The benefits of diploidy are considered to involve masking partially recessive mutations and increasing genetic diversity. Here, we review new studies showing evidence for diverse allele-specific expression and epigenetic states in mammalian brain cells, which suggest that diploidy expands the landscape of gene regulatory and expression programs in cells. Allele-specific expression has been thought to be restricted to a few specific classes of genes. However, new studies show novel genomic imprinting effects that are brain-region-, cell-type- and age-dependent...
December 2018: Trends in Neurosciences
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