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  • Gonda, Yuko; Namba, Takashi; Hanashima, Carina (2020)
    The formation of the neocortex relies on intracellular and extracellular signaling molecules that are involved in the sequential steps of corticogenesis, ranging from the proliferation and differentiation of neural progenitor cells to the migration and dendrite formation of neocortical neurons. Abnormalities in these steps lead to disruption of the cortical structure and circuit, and underly various neurodevelopmental diseases, including dyslexia and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In this review, we focus on the axon guidance signaling Slit-Robo, and address the multifaceted roles of Slit-Robo signaling in neocortical development. Recent studies have clarified the roles of Slit-Robo signaling not only in axon guidance but also in progenitor cell proliferation and migration, and the maturation of neocortical neurons. We further discuss the etiology of neurodevelopmental diseases, which are caused by defects in Slit-Robo signaling during neocortical formation.
  • Hatch, Robert J.; Mendis, G. Dulini C.; Kaila, Kai; Reid, Christopher A.; Petrou, Steven (2017)
    Gap junctions form electrical synapses that modulate neuronal activity by synchronizing action potential (AP) firing of cortical interneurons (INs). Gap junctions are thought to form predominantly within cortical INs of the same functional class and are therefore considered to act within discrete neuronal populations. Here, we challenge that view and show that the probability of electrical coupling is the same within and between regularspiking (RS) and fast-spiking (FS) cortical INs in 16-21 days old mice. Firing properties of these two populations were distinct from other INs types including neurogliaform and low-threshold spiking (LTS) cells. We also demonstrate that pre-junctional APs can depolarize post-junctional neurons and increase the probability of firing. Our findings of frequent gap junction coupling between functionally distinct IN subtypes suggest that cortical IN networks are much more extensive and heterogeneous than previously thought. This may have implications on mechanisms ranging from cognitive functions to modulation of pathological states in epilepsy and other neurological disorders.
  • Darki, Fahimeh; Massinen, Satu; Salmela, Elina; Matsson, Hans; Peyrard-Janvid, Myriam; Klingberg, Torkel; Kere, Juha (2017)
    The axon guidance receptor, Robo1, controls the pathfinding of callosal axons in mice. To determine whether the orthologous ROBO1 gene is involved in callosal development also in humans, we studied polymorphisms in the ROBO1 gene and variation in the white matter structure in the corpus callosum using both structural magnetic resonance imaging and diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging. We found that five polymorphisms in the regulatory region of ROBO1 were associated with white matter density in the posterior part of the corpus callosum pathways. One of the polymorphisms, rs7631357, was also significantly associated with the probability of connections to the parietal cortical regions. Our results demonstrate that human ROBO1 may be involved in the regulation of the structure and connectivity of posterior part of corpus callosum.
  • Yuryev, Mikhail; Andriichuk, Liliia; Leiwe, Marcus; Jokinen, Ville; Carabalona, Aurelie; Rivera, Claudio (2018)
    Prior to sensory experience spontaneous activity appears to play a fundamental role in the correct formation of prominent functional features of different cortical regions. The use of anaesthesia during pregnancy such as ketamine is largely considered to negatively affect neuronal development by interfering with synaptic transmission. Interestingly, the characteristics of spontaneous activity as well as the acute functional effects of maternal anaesthesia remain largely untested in the embryonic cortex in vivo. In the present work, we performed in vivo imaging of spontaneous calcium activity and cell motility in the marginal zone of the cortex of E14-15 embryos connected to the mother. We made use of a preparation where the blood circulation from the mother through the umbilical cord is preserved and fluctuations in intracellular calcium in the embryonic frontal cortex are acquired using two-photon imaging. We found that spontaneous transients were either sporadic or correlated in clusters of neuronal ensembles at this age. These events were not sensitive to maternal isoflurane anaesthesia but were strongly inhibited by acute in situ or maternal application of low concentration of the anaesthetic ketamine (a non-competitive antagonist of NMDA receptors). Moreover, simultaneous imaging of cell motility revealed a correlated strong sensitivity to ketamine. These results show that anaesthetic compounds can differ significantly in their impact on spontaneous early cortical activity as well as motility of cells in the marginal zone. The effects found in this study may be relevant in the etiology of heightened vulnerability to cerebral dysfunction associated with the use of ketamine during pregnancy.
  • Räsänen, Noora; Tiihonen, Jari; Koskuvi, Marja; Lehtonen, Sarka; Koistinaho, Jari (2022)
    Over a decade of schizophrenia research using human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived neural models has provided substantial data describing neurobiological characteristics of the disorder in vitro. Simultaneously, translation of the results into general mechanistic concepts underlying schizophrenia pathophysiology has been trailing behind. Given that modeling brain function using cell cultures is challenging, the gap between the in vitro models and schizophrenia as a clinical disorder has remained wide. In this review, we highlight reproducible findings and emerging trends in recent schizophrenia-related iPSC studies. We illuminate the relevance of the results in the context of human brain development, with a focus on processes coinciding with critical developmental periods for schizophrenia.