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Neuronal Development and Degeneration

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In the young central nervous system (CNS), neuronal development is initiated from late embryonic stage and undergoes neural progenitor differentiation, axon targeting and growth, dendrite maturation, and synapse formation. Each stage requires an integration of cell-intrinsic genetic programs and the extrinsic ...

In the young central nervous system (CNS), neuronal development is initiated from late embryonic stage and undergoes neural progenitor differentiation, axon targeting and growth, dendrite maturation, and synapse formation. Each stage requires an integration of cell-intrinsic genetic programs and the extrinsic influences of guidance cues, trophic factors, and neuronal and synaptic adhesion systems. The developing neurons and their connection participate in the formation of precise neural circuits and early brain function. Dysfunction of neuronal development and connectivity during critical developing periods lead to neurodevelopmental abnormalities and mental disorders. With the addition of newborn neurons in neural connectivity, axon/dendrite pruning, synapse elimination, neuronal degeneration and apoptosis emerge subsequently with age. Synaptic connections are continuously formed and eliminated throughout life that determine neural circuit plasticity. In the aged CNS, in contrast to the stabilized matured neuronal connections, numerous neurons start to degenerate owing to the modification and imbalance of neural function. The abnormal process of neuronal loss leads to neuronal functional defects, especially neurodegenerative disorders.
Although accumulating evidence have been proposed in revealing the molecular mechanism underlying the neuronal development and degeneration, how the neurons are regulated through integration of intrinsic factors and extrinsic environment throughout the life and in particular how these abnormalities are related to the neuronal disorders is an open question. The present Research Topics cover discoveries that take advantage of recent advances in the techniques related to neuroscience research, such as in vivo gene editing approach, live imaging techniques, and opto-/chemogenetics methods, which allows us to elucidate more precisely the processes of neuronal development and degeneration in the normal and diseased CNS including brain, spinal cord, and retina. For the type of the submission, Research Articles and Reviews would be considered in the Research Topic.


Keywords: neuron, axon, synapse, development, degeneration


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