Regulation of cortical neuron development by early neurotransmission
The mature cerebral cortex is organized in modular functional units which process neuronal inputs through stereotyped connections between projection and local-circuit neurons. The generation of this complex network results from concerted developmental processes orchestrated by series of genetic and epigenetic factors. The structural organization of the cortex and hippocampus is established early during brain development. Among other epigenetic factors, the chemical neurotransmitter networks developed early during brain development could regulate the growth and differentiation of neurons and their connectivity. The monaminergic systems (e.g. serotonergic and dopaminergic) are among the first to differentiate in the brainstem and grow extended projections in many brain areas, including the forebrain. Several neurological and psychiatric disorders are associated with altered serotonin and dopamine neurotransmission, several know to have a developmental origin.
We use animal models with specific neurotransmitter defects during development, as well as study the neuroanatomy of the serotonergic system in monkey and human.
The team collaborate with Cécile Lebrand, an external collaborator associated with our research group.