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Front Synaptic Neurosci. 2014 Mar 18;6:4. doi: 10.3389/fnsyn.2014.00004. eCollection 2014.

The best-laid plans go oft awry: synaptogenic growth factor signaling in neuropsychiatric disease.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI, USA ; Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute, University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute, University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI, USA ; Department of Neurology, F.M. Kirby Neurobiology Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston Children's Hospital Boston, MA, USA.


Growth factors play important roles in synapse formation. Mouse models of neuropsychiatric diseases suggest that defects in synaptogenic growth factors, their receptors, and signaling pathways can lead to disordered neural development and various behavioral phenotypes, including anxiety, memory problems, and social deficits. Genetic association studies in humans have found evidence for similar relationships between growth factor signaling pathways and neuropsychiatric phenotypes. Accumulating data suggest that dysfunction in neuronal circuitry, caused by defects in growth factor-mediated synapse formation, contributes to the susceptibility to multiple neuropsychiatric diseases, including epilepsy, autism, and disorders of thought and mood (e.g., schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, respectively). In this review, we will focus on how specific synaptogenic growth factors and their downstream signaling pathways might be involved in the development of neuropsychiatric diseases.


growth factor; mental illness; psychiatry; synapse; synaptogenesis

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