Consequences of NMDA Receptor Deficiency Can Be Rescued in the Adult Brain
75 Pages Posted: 5 Apr 2018 Sneak Peek Status: Review CompleteMore...
NMDA receptors (NMDAR) are important in the formation of activitydependent connections in the brain. In sensory pathways, NMDAR disruption during discrete developmental periods has enduring effects on wiring and function. Yet, it is not clear whether NMDAR-limited critical periods exist for higher-order circuits governing mood and cognition. This question is urgent for neurodevelopmental disorders, like schizophrenia, that have NMDAR hypofunction and treatment-resistant cognitive symptoms. As proof of concept, we developed a novel mouse model where developmental NMDAR deficits can be ameliorated by inducible Cre recombinase. Rescue of NMDARs in either adolescence or adulthood yields surprisingly strong improvements in higher-order behavior. Similar levels of behavioral plasticity are observed regardless of intervention age, with degree of plasticity dependent on the specific behavioral circuit. These results reveal higher-order brain function as amenable to treatment in adulthood and identify NMDAR as a key target for cognitive dysfunction.
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