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Acta Neurobiol Exp (Wars). 2018;78(3):210-219.

The role of DSCAM in the regulation of synaptic plasticity: possible involvement in neuropsychiatric disorders.

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Department of Neurobiology, Institute of Pharmacology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Kraków, Poland;


Synaptic plasticity simply put, is the activity‑dependent modification of the strength or efficacy of synaptic transmission in the network of synapses in the brain. The role of synaptic plasticity in disease is an active area of research. Changes in plasticity translate to the release of neurotransmitters at the synapse and subsequently, the way humans see the world. It is known that neuropsychiatric disorders such as depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and Alzheimer's disease (AD) are related to pathological changes in dynamic processes in synapses, dialogue between neurons, and finally, changes in overall plasticity. To find a cure for these plasticity related diseases, it is imperative that we understand the precise mechanisms that perturb the homeostatic balance leading to the disease state. The aim of this review is to present what is currently known about DSCAM (Down Syndrome Cell Adhesion Molecule) a protein that is directly connected to pathological changes in synaptic plasticity. The review will present information on DSCAM and how it is connected to glutamate (Glu) and γ‑Aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurotransmission pathways. Finally, the review throws some light on the possible involvement of DSCAM in a spectrum of psychiatric disorders apart from Down syndrome (DS).

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