Lending Late Neurons a Helping Hand
During the foetal stage, millions of neurons are born in the walls of the ventricles of the brain before migrating to their nal location in the cerebral cortex. If this migration is disrupted, the new-born baby may su er serious consequences, including intellectual impairment. What happens, however, if the migration takes place but is delayed? Researchers at the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, have discovered that even a slight delay may lead to behavioural disorders that are similar to autistic characteristics in human. Furthermore, they found that these disorders are due to the abnormally low activity of the late neurons, which leads to permanent de cit of interneuronal connections. The Geneva neuroscientists succeeded in correcting the activity of the relevant neurons, thereby restoring the missing connections and preventing the appearance of behavioural disorders. The results will open up new avenues for preventing neurodevelopmental disorders linked to the cerebral cortex.