Working Paper Review Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Rethinking Intellectual Disability from Neuro- to Astro-Pathology

Version 1 : Received: 30 October 2020 / Approved: 2 November 2020 / Online: 2 November 2020 (09:36:46 CET)

How to cite: Fernández-Blanco, Á.; Dierssen, M. Rethinking Intellectual Disability from Neuro- to Astro-Pathology. Preprints 2020, 2020110006 Fernández-Blanco, Á.; Dierssen, M. Rethinking Intellectual Disability from Neuro- to Astro-Pathology. Preprints 2020, 2020110006

Abstract

Neurodevelopmental disorders arise from genetic and/or from environmental factors and are characterized by different degrees of intellectual disability. The mechanisms that govern important processes sustaining learning and memory, which are severely affected in intellectual disability, have classically been thought to be exclusively under neuronal control. However, this vision has recently evolved into a more integrative conception, in which astroglia, rather than just acting as metabolic supply and structural anchoring for neurons, interact at distinct levels modulating neuronal communication and possibly also cognitive processes. Recently, genetic tools have made it possible to specifically manipulate astrocyte activity unraveling novel functions that involve astrocytes in memory function in the healthy brain. However, astrocyte manipulation has also underscored potential mechanisms by which dysfunctional astrocytes could contribute to memory deficits in several neurodevelopmental disorders revealing new pathogenic mechanisms in intellectual disability. Here, we review the current knowledge about astrocyte dysfunction that might contribute to learning and memory impairment in neurodevelopmental disorders, with special focus on Fragile X syndrome and Down syndrome.

Subject Areas

astrocytes; neurodevelopmental disorders; memory deficits, Fragile X syndrome, Down syndrome.

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