News & Comment

  • News & Views |

    In 2004, Weaver et al. published evidence in Nature Neuroscience for the lasting epigenetic impact of maternal care within the hippocampus of rat offspring. This conceptual and methodological leap contributed to the evolution of environmental and behavioral epigenetics and continues to inspire challenging questions about genes, environments, and their legacy.

    • Frances A. Champagne
  • News & Views |

    Synaptic connections adapt homeostatically to changes in experience to maintain optimal circuit function. A study demonstrates that different forms of synaptic homeostasis respond to distinct aspects of circuit activity, suggesting that neurons can gauge and adapt to the both the quality and quantity of circuit activity.

    • Kimberly M. Huber
  • News & Views |

    Recurring bursts of thalamocortical cells were thought to be indispensable in driving absence seizures. A new study demonstrates that bursts from inhibitory thalamic reticular neurons are crucial instead. Reticular bursts are driven by cortical inputs and govern precise timing of thalamocortical cell activity during seizures.

    • László Acsády
  • News & Views |

    The behavioral state of a human or animal can dramatically alter how information is processed in its neural circuits. Albergaria et al. show that locomotion enhances the performance of a cerebellum-dependent behavior. The results provide new constraints on how information is represented there to support learning.

    • Jennifer L. Raymond
  • News & Views |

    Epidemiology and animal research have shown that the offspring of mothers who experience inflammation during pregnancy are at increased risk for psychopathology. A human study links a mother’s inflammation during pregnancy to her newborn’s functional brain organization and the child’s working memory two years later.

    • Monica D. Rosenberg
  • News & Views |

    When making decisions, new information sometimes calls for a change of mind. New results indicate that regions of the prefrontal cortex play distinct roles in evaluating new evidence in light of a previous choice and translating the result of this evaluation process into an explicit report of one’s subjective confidence.

    • Redmond G. O’Connell
    •  & Peter R. Murphy
  • News & Views |

    The dogma that self-renewal is a defining characteristic of stem cells, which stemmed from studies of the hematopoietic hierarchy and quickly spread by analogy to all tissues, has been shattered by scientists pointing a microscope at the hematopoietic system itself. A microglial cell is clearly fully differentiated, and yet it self-renews.

    • Fabio Rossi
    •  & Coral Lewis
  • News & Views |

    Spinal cord injury disrupts connectivity between the brain and the body. With electrochemical neuromodulation and intensive rehabilitation training, the cortex can functionally connect with spinal circuits below injury by relaying signals through the brainstem.

    • Brett J Hilton
    •  & Wolfram Tetzlaff
  • News & Views |

    A key component of learning involves updating existing motor plans in response to altered sensory feedback. By using a brain–computer interface, Golub et al. show how such learning changes the activity of neural populations in primary motor cortex—and how it does not.

    • Aniruddh R. Galgali
    •  & Valerio Mante
  • News & Views |

    Using a series of functional manipulation and in vivo recording tools, Park et al. identify a pathway from medial preoptic CaMKIIα-expressing neurons to the ventral periaqueductal gray that mediates object craving and prey hunting.

    • Dayu Lin
  • News & Views |

    The human brain shows regional selective vulnerability to the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease. Jacobs et al. show that the protein amyloid-β promotes the spread of tau through specific components of a neural system underlying memory formation, thus leading to the prominent early symptom of amnesia.

    • William Jagust
  • News & Views |

    Humans and animals can react to the affective state of others in distress. However, exposure to a stressed partner can trigger stress-related adaptations. Two studies shed light on the mechanisms underlying the behavioral responses toward stressed individuals and on the synaptic changes associated with social transmission of stress.

    • Dana Rubi Levy
    •  & Ofer Yizhar
  • News & Views |

    Direct conversion of adult Huntington’s disease patient fibroblasts into medium spiny neurons recapitulates hallmark phenotypes such as cell death, in contrast to models that lack epigenetic markers of aging. This successful ‘disease-in-a-dish’ highlights the benefits of capturing age in an adult-onset disorder model.

    • Virginia B. Mattis
    •  & Clive N. Svendsen
  • News & Views |

    Excessive dietary salt can impair cerebral blood flow regulation, resulting in cognitive dysfunction in mice. A ‘gut–brain’ pathway is implicated that links expansion of TH17 lymphocytes in small intestine to elevated bloodstream interleukin-17, which impairs brain perfusion by decreasing nitric oxide production in brain vascular endothelium.

    • Mohammed A. Shaik
    •  & Elizabeth M. C. Hillman
  • News & Views |

    Neuroimaging studies of human entorhinal cortex activity revealed 60-degree spatial periodicity, a hallmark of grid cells, as gaze movements were made throughout the visual field. This activity may serve as a framework for organizing visuospatial memory.

    • Nathaniel J. Killian
    •  & Elizabeth A. Buffalo
  • Obituary |

    Pamela Sklar, Chair of the Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences and endowed Professor of Psychiatric Genetics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, died 20 November 2017 after a long illness.

    • Patrick F. Sullivan
    • , Michael C. O’Donovan
    •  & Nick Craddock
  • Obituary |

    On 20 October 2017, John Lisman passed away at the age of 73. Neuroscience lost a great luminary.

    • Adam Kepecs
  • News & Views |

    An extensive single-cell transcriptomic collection of over 30,000 cells of the developing hippocampus shows that adult hippocampal neurogenesis follows the same differentiation path as embryonic neurogenesis, but the cell of origin differs. This work provides an invaluable resource with important implications for neuronal regeneration.

    • Ben W. Dulken
    •  & Anne Brunet
  • News & Views |

    Compromised compartmentalization of nucleus and cytoplasm has emerged as a central feature of aging and neurodegenerative diseases. Nucleocytoplasmic transport is disrupted, with widespread mislocalization of nuclear pore proteins, in TDP-43 proteinopathies such as, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia.

    • Nan Li
    •  & Clotilde Lagier-Tourenne
  • News & Views |

    Both nucleus accumbens and orexin play clear roles in motivated behavior, but the functions of orexin projections to accumbens are poorly understood. Blomeley et al. show that this pathway, via specific orexin excitation of dopamine D2 receptor–expressing neurons, can inhibit reward seeking and exploratory drive when danger is perceived.

    • Stephen V. Mahler
  • Editorial |

    Neuroscience is not spared from wrestling with gender disparity issues. Progress toward more balanced representation has been slow, but improvement is possible with consistent and focused efforts.

  • News & Views |

    The medial entorhinal cortex contains spatially selective grid cells, whose lattice-like firing patterns are proposed to support path-integration-based navigation. However, direct behavioral evidence has been lacking. Gil et al. disrupt grid cells in a targeted manner, establishing a clear link between grid cell codes and navigation.

    • Caitlin S. Mallory
    •  & Lisa M. Giocomo
  • News & Views |

    New studies provide compelling evidence that the number and length of myelin sheaths generated by oligodendrocytes in the CNS are controlled by local calcium levels, linking axonal activity to individual myelin sheath formation.

    • Robert H. Miller