- The cognitive processes mediated by the DLPFC undergo a protracted course of postnatal maturation extending from birth through adolescence, the periods of development that appear to be critical for the manifestation of the clinical syndrome of schizophrenia.
- Consequently, the second component of our research strategy involves characterizing the postnatal development of monkey DLPFC circuitry. Special emphasis is placed on the maturational events, such as synaptogenesis and synaptic pruning, which occur during early postnatal life and adolescence, respectively.
- The timing and regional-, laminar-, and cell type-specificity of these processes are examined for their possible contribution to the emergence and refinement of the types of cognitive abilities that are disturbed in schizophrenia.
- These studies are conducted in collaboration with Program faculty members Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez-Burgos and Dr. Ken Fish.
- Excitatory inputs to pyramidal cells in monkey DLPFC exhibit immature properties in early postnatal development, but mature properties by pre-adolescence. Since this maturation is completed prior to adolescence, the remodeling of excitatory connections that occurs during adolescence likely happens without associated changes in synaptic strength (read more).
- Pyramidal neuron axon initial segments (AIS) that contain proteins involved in regulating synapse structure and receptor localization undergo distinct developmental trajectories through adolescence in monkey DLPFC. This prolonged period of change may explain the protracted development of DLPFC-dependent cognitive functions (read more).
- GABAA receptor subunits exhibit opposing postnatal trajectories through adolescence in monkey DLPFC, resulting in a change in the kinetics of GABA neurotransmission across development (read more here and here)
- Use of single-cell laser capture microdissection, in conjunction with qPCR and gene expression profiling, to characterize the developmental trajectories of molecular transcripts regulating GABA and glutamate inputs to DLPFC pyramidal cells.
- Examination of the developmental trajectories of parvalbumin cell inputs to pyramidal cells using multi-label confocal microscopy.
- Determination of how different types of inhibitory inputs to layer 3 pyramidal cells are refined during postnatal development using in vitro slice preparations of monkey DLPFC tissue.