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Neural Dev. 2018 May 1;13(1):7. doi: 10.1186/s13064-018-0104-y.

Astrocytes, neurons, synapses: a tripartite view on cortical circuit development.

Author information

1
Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, 10010 North Torrey Pines Rd, La Jolla, CA, 92037, USA. ifarhy@salk.edu.
2
Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, 10010 North Torrey Pines Rd, La Jolla, CA, 92037, USA. nallen@salk.edu.

Abstract

In the mammalian cerebral cortex neurons are arranged in specific layers and form connections both within the cortex and with other brain regions, thus forming a complex mesh of specialized synaptic connections comprising distinct circuits. The correct establishment of these connections during development is crucial for the proper function of the brain. Astrocytes, a major type of glial cell, are important regulators of synapse formation and function during development. While neurogenesis precedes astrogenesis in the cortex, neuronal synapses only begin to form after astrocytes have been generated, concurrent with neuronal branching and process elaboration. Here we provide a combined overview of the developmental processes of synapse and circuit formation in the rodent cortex, emphasizing the timeline of both neuronal and astrocytic development and maturation. We further discuss the role of astrocytes at the synapse, focusing on astrocyte-synapse contact and the role of synapse-related proteins in promoting formation of distinct cortical circuits.

KEYWORDS:

Astrocyte; Cortex; Development; Neuron; Synapse

PMID:
29712572
PMCID:
PMC5928581
DOI:
10.1186/s13064-018-0104-y
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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