Abstract

Neuropsychiatric disorders arise from the alteration of normal brain developmental trajectories disrupting the function of specific neuronal circuits. Recent advances in human genetics have greatly accelerated the identification of genes whose variation increases the susceptibility for neurodevelopmental disorders, most notably for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and schizophrenia. In parallel, experimental studies in animal models-most typically in mice-are beginning to shed light on the role of these genes in the development and function of specific brain circuits. In spite of their limitations, understanding the impact of pathological gene variation in animal models at the level of specific neuronal populations and circuits will likely contribute to orienting human clinical studies in the search for precise disease mechanisms and novel treatments.

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