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Neurosignals. 2012;20(3):168-89. doi: 10.1159/000334489. Epub 2012 May 4.

Neurons on the move: migration and lamination of cortical interneurons.

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Centre for Neuroscience, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Vic, Australia.


The modulation of cortical activity by GABAergic interneurons is required for normal brain function and is achieved through the immense level of heterogeneity within this neuronal population. Cortical interneurons share a common origin in the ventral telencephalon, yet during the maturation process diverse subtypes are generated that form the characteristic laminar arrangement observed in the adult brain. The long distance tangential and short-range radial migration into the cortical plate is regulated by a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic signalling mechanisms, and a great deal of progress has been made to understand these developmental events. In this review, we will summarize current findings regarding the molecular control of subtype specification and provide a detailed account of the migratory cues influencing interneuron migration and lamination. Furthermore, a dysfunctional GABAergic system is associated with a number of neurological and psychiatric conditions, and some of these may have a developmental aetiology with alterations in interneuron generation and migration. We will discuss the notion of additional sources of interneuron progenitors found in human and non-human primates and illustrate how the disruption of early developmental events can instigate a loss in GABAergic function.

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