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Time Windows of Interneuron Development: Implications to Our Understanding of the Aetiology and Treatment of Schizophrenia

Centre for Cancer Biology, University of South Australia, Frome Road, Adelaide, 5000, Australia

Topical Section: Neuropsychiatric Disorders – Advances in Brain Theories

Schizophrenia is a devastating neuropsychiatric disorder widely believed to arise from defects during brain development. Indeed, dysfunction in the formation and function of GABAergic cortical interneurons has been implicated as a central pathogenic mechanism in this, and other, neurodevelopmental disorders. Understanding the coordination and timing of interneuron development including the complex processes of specification, proliferation, migration and their incorporation into finely tuned cortical networks is therefore essential in determining their role in neurodevelopmental disease. Studies using mouse models have highlighted the functional relevance of transcription factor networks and common signalling pathways in interneuron development but have faced challenges in identifying clear time windows where these factors are essential. Here we discuss recent developments highlighting critical time frames in the specification and migration of cortical interneurons and the impact of aberrant development to aetiology and treatments of schizophrenia.
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