Basic & Clinical Medicine ›› 2018, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (3): 299-303.

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Homeostatic interplay between electrical activity and neuronal apoptosis in the developing neocortex


  • Received:2017-12-14 Revised:2017-12-29 Online:2018-03-05 Published:2018-02-27
  • Contact: Yan Zhang

Abstract: An interesting feature of neural development in most animal species is that the number of neurons initially produced is greater than the number of neurons belonging to the mature circuits. In the first two weeks after birth, a significant number of neurons were eliminated in a short period of time by apoptosis. Although we have been very clear that in the peripheral nervous system (PNS), neurotrophic factors and apoptosis play an important role in controlling the neurons survival, but the situation in central nervous system (CNS) remains unknown. In the rodent cortex, the peak of apoptosis coincides with spontaneous, synchronous neural activity pattern. In this article, we review the recent research results, these studies proved the important role of electrical activity in the brain cortex neuron survival, describes the role of Ca2+ and neurotrophic factors in translating electrical activity into pro-survival signals, and finally discuss the clinical impact of the tight relation between electrical activity and apoptosis of neurons.

Key words: apoptosis, activity patterns, spontaneous synchronous activity, development, programed cell death