Research on the development of the cerebral cortex is advancing rapidly. It has long been an area attracting scientists with diverse interests because of the range of the problems posed. Many different approaches are now achieving considerable success, so that older hypotheses are being replaced by new concepts of cortical organization and development. This book presents and evaluates these new approaches. It includes a review of a variety of techniques, such as the analysis of cell growth in culture and specific cell transplantation experiments, that have been invaluable for the analysis of neuronal proliferation and specification. These studies have established that environmental cues participate in the regulation of neuronal differentiation. In addition, ablation of certain neurons at particular developmental stages results in the failure of specific axons to innervate their targets, highlighting the importance of cellular interactions within the developing neural network. The development of labelling techniques using retroviral vectors that express marker genes has also facilitated the analysis of the pattern of cell migration and cell lineage. These new areas of research have important implications for our concepts of structurally differentiated cortical regions and our understanding of brain malformations. Indeed, recent neuropathological investigations and magnetic resonance imaging studies have suggested that abnormalities of cortical development may be associated with neuropsychiatric disorders such as epilepsy and schizophrenia. The relationship between the type and location of the developmental abnormalities and the consequent implications for our understanding of the aetiology of these disorders are also discussed in this book.
Partial table of contents:
Cell Lineage and Patterns of Migration in the Developing Cortex (C. Walsh and C Reid).
The Cell Lineage of Neuronal Subtypes in the Mammalian Cerebral Cortex (J. Parnavelas, et al.).
Factors Regulating the Differentiation of Neural Precursors in the Forebrain (P. Bartlett, et al.).
Subplate Neurons and the Patterning of Thalamocortical Connections (A. Ghosh).
Plasticity in the Development of Neocortical Areas (D. O'Leary, et al.).
Factors that are Critical for Plasticity in the Visual Cortex (N. Daw, et al.).
Cortical Development and Neuropsychiatric Disorders (G. Roberts, et al.).