Display Settings:

Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Neural Plast. 2011;2011:921680. doi: 10.1155/2011/921680. Epub 2011 Aug 3.

Autism: a "critical period" disorder?

Author information

  • 1Harvard Medical School and The F. M. Kirby Neurobiology Center, Children's Hospital Boston, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

Abstract

Cortical circuits in the brain are refined by experience during critical periods early in postnatal life. Critical periods are regulated by the balance of excitatory and inhibitory (E/I) neurotransmission in the brain during development. There is now increasing evidence of E/I imbalance in autism, a complex genetic neurodevelopmental disorder diagnosed by abnormal socialization, impaired communication, and repetitive behaviors or restricted interests. The underlying cause is still largely unknown and there is no fully effective treatment or cure. We propose that alteration of the expression and/or timing of critical period circuit refinement in primary sensory brain areas may significantly contribute to autistic phenotypes, including cognitive and behavioral impairments. Dissection of the cellular and molecular mechanisms governing well-established critical periods represents a powerful tool to identify new potential therapeutic targets to restore normal plasticity and function in affected neuronal circuits.

PMID:
21826280
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3150222
Free PMC Article

Images from this publication.See all images (1)Free text

Figure 1
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Hindawi Publishing Corporation Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk