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Effect of Neuroinflammation on Synaptic Organization and Function in the Developing Brain: Implications for Neurodevelopmental and Neurodegenerative Disorders

Journal article
Authors Amin Mottahedin
Maryam Ardalan
Tetyana Chumak
Ilse Riebe
C. Joakim Ek
Carina Mallard
Published in Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience
Volume 11
ISSN 1662-5102
Publication year 2017
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology
Language en
Keywords preterm infant, neuroinflammation, synapse formation, neurodevelopmental disorders, neurodegenerative diseases, maternal immune activation, schizophrenia-like alterations, autism, spectrum disorder, long-term potentiation, ampa-silent synapses, birth-weight infants, white-matter injury, wild-type microglia, fragile-x-syndrome, rett-syndrome, Neurosciences & Neurology
Subject categories Neurology


The brain is a plastic organ where both the intrinsic CNS milieu and extrinsic cues play important roles in shaping and wiring neural connections. The perinatal period constitutes a critical time in central nervous system development with extensive refinement of neural connections, which are highly sensitive to fetal and neonatal compromise, such as inflammatory challenges. Emerging evidence suggests that inflammatory cells in the brain such as microglia and astrocytes are pivotal in regulating synaptic structure and function. In this article, we will review the role of glia cells in synaptic physiology and pathophysiology, including microglia-mediated elimination of synapses. We propose that activation of the immune system dynamically affects synaptic organization and function in the developing brain. We will discuss the role of neuroinflammation in altered synaptic plasticity following perinatal inflammatory challenges and potential implications for neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders.

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