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Trends Neurosci. 2012 Jun;35(6):335-44. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2012.03.005. Epub 2012 Apr 26.

Sensitive time-windows for susceptibility in neurodevelopmental disorders.

Author information

1
Department of Integrative Neurophysiology, Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research-CNCR, VU University Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1085, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands. r.m.meredith@vu.nl

Abstract

Many neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs) are characterized by age-dependent symptom onset and regression, particularly during early postnatal periods of life. The neurobiological mechanisms preceding and underlying these developmental cognitive and behavioral impairments are, however, not clearly understood. Recent evidence using animal models for monogenic NDDs demonstrates the existence of time-regulated windows of neuronal and synaptic impairments. We propose that these developmentally-dependent impairments can be unified into a key concept: namely, time-restricted windows for impaired synaptic phenotypes exist in NDDs, akin to critical periods during normal sensory development in the brain. Existence of sensitive time-windows has significant implications for our understanding of early brain development underlying NDDs and may indicate vulnerable periods when the brain is more susceptible to current therapeutic treatments.

PMID:
22542246
DOI:
10.1016/j.tins.2012.03.005
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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