The Role of Synaptic Plasticity in Animal Behavior and the Development of Psychiatric Disorders

A special issue of Behavioral Sciences (ISSN 2076-328X). This special issue belongs to the section "Experimental and Clinical Neurosciences".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 June 2024 | Viewed by 3996

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Faculty of Psychology, Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, 20132 Milan, Italy
Interests: synaptic transmission and plasticity; animal behavior; mental disorders

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Guest Editor
Department of Psychology, Sigmund Freud University, 20143 Milan, Italy
Interests: molecular psychiatry; behavioral neuroscience; synaptic plasticity

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Animal behaviors are driven by the concerted activity of several brain areas, including cortical and subcortical regions, whose neurons are interconnected by billions of synaptic contacts. In these complex networks, synaptic weights can be strongly modified by experience and continuously refined via regulatory mechanisms that preserve homeostatic balance. The phenomenon behind these changes is referred to as synaptic plasticity. 

Extended evidence supports a central role for synaptic plasticity in the generation of maladaptive and pathological behaviors, such as in addiction or following trauma. Furthermore, many psychiatric disorders have been associated with defective plasticity, including depressive and tic disorders, and novel therapeutic strategies based on non-invasive brain stimulation are being successfully adopted. 

This Special Issue aims to collect studies investigating the role of neural plasticity in physiological and pathological behaviors of both human and non-human animals, with particular focus on the development and treatment of psychiatric disorders. Both original research articles and reviews are welcome.

Dr. Jacopo Lamanna
Dr. Mattia Ferro
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • synaptic plasticity
  • animal behavior
  • psychiatric disorders
  • mental disorder
  • preclinical model

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Review

12 pages, 277 KiB  
Review
Perinatal Depression and the Role of Synaptic Plasticity in Its Pathogenesis and Treatment
by Sonia Shenoy and Sufyan Ibrahim
Behav. Sci. 2023, 13(11), 942; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs13110942 - 17 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1192
Abstract
Emerging evidence indicates that synaptic plasticity is significantly involved in the pathophysiology and treatment of perinatal depression. Animal models have demonstrated the effects of overstimulated or weakened synapses in various circuits of the brain in causing affective disturbances. GABAergic theory of depression, stress, [...] Read more.
Emerging evidence indicates that synaptic plasticity is significantly involved in the pathophysiology and treatment of perinatal depression. Animal models have demonstrated the effects of overstimulated or weakened synapses in various circuits of the brain in causing affective disturbances. GABAergic theory of depression, stress, and the neuroplasticity model of depression indicate the role of synaptic plasticity in the pathogenesis of depression. Multiple factors related to perinatal depression like hormonal shifts, newer antidepressants, mood stabilizers, monoamine systems, biomarkers, neurotrophins, cytokines, psychotherapy and electroconvulsive therapy have demonstrated direct and indirect effects on synaptic plasticity. In this review, we discuss and summarize the various patho-physiology-related effects of synaptic plasticity in depression. We also discuss the association of treatment-related aspects related to psychotropics, electroconvulsive therapy, neuromodulation, psychotherapy, physical exercise and yoga with synaptic plasticity in perinatal depression. Future insights into newer methods of treatment directed towards the modulation of neuroplasticity for perinatal depression will be discussed. Full article
17 pages, 1223 KiB  
Review
The Dysfunctional Mechanisms Throwing Tics: Structural and Functional Changes in Tourette Syndrome
by Jacopo Lamanna, Mattia Ferro, Sara Spadini, Gabriella Racchetti and Antonio Malgaroli
Behav. Sci. 2023, 13(8), 668; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs13080668 - 10 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2206
Abstract
Tourette Syndrome (TS) is a high-incidence multifactorial neuropsychiatric disorder characterized by motor and vocal tics co-occurring with several diverse comorbidities, including obsessive-compulsive disorder and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. The origin of TS is multifactorial, with strong genetic, perinatal, and immunological influences. Although almost all [...] Read more.
Tourette Syndrome (TS) is a high-incidence multifactorial neuropsychiatric disorder characterized by motor and vocal tics co-occurring with several diverse comorbidities, including obsessive-compulsive disorder and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. The origin of TS is multifactorial, with strong genetic, perinatal, and immunological influences. Although almost all neurotransmettitorial systems have been implicated in TS pathophysiology, a comprehensive neurophysiological model explaining the dynamics of expression and inhibition of tics is still lacking. The genesis and maintenance of motor and non-motor aspects of TS are thought to arise from functional and/or structural modifications of the basal ganglia and related circuitry. This complex wiring involves several cortical and subcortical structures whose concerted activity controls the selection of the most appropriate reflexive and habitual motor, cognitive and emotional actions. Importantly, striatal circuits exhibit bidirectional forms of synaptic plasticity that differ in many respects from hippocampal and neocortical plasticity, including sensitivity to metaplastic molecules such as dopamine. Here, we review the available evidence about structural and functional anomalies in neural circuits which have been found in TS patients. Finally, considering what is known in the field of striatal plasticity, we discuss the role of exuberant plasticity in TS, including the prospect of future pharmacological and neuromodulation avenues. Full article
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Functional Recovery and Neuroplasticity Post-Hemispherectomy in Humans
Authors: Functional Recovery and Neuroplasticity Post-Hemispherectomy in Humans Qian Yang1,2, #, Xiangqiu Wang1,2, #, Moksada Regmi1,2,5, #, Qianquan Ma1, Yingjie Wang1, Xiaofang Zhao1, Weihai Liu1, Guozhong L
Affiliation: Department of Neurosurgery, Peking University Third Hospital, Center for Precision
Abstract: Since its introduction for cerebral gliomas in the early 20th century, hemispherectomy has2 evolved significantly. Initial triumphs were overshadowed by high complication rates and3 mortality, with death occurring in approximately 1-2% of patients, and serious complications4 being reported in 10-20% of patients, leading to the procedure’s temporary abandonment.5 Subsequent refinements in surgical techniques and better post-operative care have revitalized6 the practice, with studies reporting perioperative mortality rates closer to 0–1%, resulting in7 enhanced seizure control and new insights into neuroplasticity. This review examines functional8 recovery post-hemispherectomy, covering motor-sensory, linguistic, visual, visuospatial,9 auditory, cognitive, and social domains. It tries to assess the extent to which alternative motor10 pathways compensate for lost functions, the ability of the remaining hemisphere to replicate11 linguistic capabilities, and the compensatory mechanisms in vision. Our exploration also12 uncovers potential directions for targeted rehabilitation, from reorganized visuospatial skills to13 social cognition impacts, highlighting the brain's remarkable adaptability. This study aims to14 drive novel research in neurosurgery and foster novel interventions that could advance surgical15 techniques and improve patient outcomes.16 Keywords: hemispherectomy; human; brain function; functional recovery; neuroplasticity

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