Reviews & Analysis

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  • Most of the cerebral microcirculation is comprised of capillaries that are lined with pericytes, but the influence of pericytes on local blood flow was not previously established. A new study by Hartmann and colleagues uses selective optical ablation or activation to demonstrate that capillary pericytes exert both static and slow types of regulation on capillary diameter to affect flow, which are distinct from canonical rapid regulation by arteriole smooth muscle.

    • Adam Institoris
    • Grant R. Gordon
    News & Views
  • The act of remembering information or planning actions in short term memory can often be robust to distracting or conflicting information. Finkelstein et al. reveal the neural computations behind this robustness against distractors using a combination of optogenetics, behavior, neural recordings and neural network modelling.

    • Edmund Chong
    • Athena Akrami
    News & Views
  • In new research, Smith et al. identify thousands of novel genetic associations with human brain structure and function, including those on the X chromosome, by analyzing ~4,000 MRI-derived traits measured in almost 40,000 individuals from the UK Biobank resource.

    • Nana Matoba
    • Jason L. Stein
    News & Views
  • Disrupting reconsolidation of the maladaptive memories underlying post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) could be transformative for treatment. However, patients cannot undergo the direct re-exposure to trauma-cues used to induce reconsolidation in animal studies. Ressler and colleagues report ‘covert’ memory reactivation in rats, bolstering hopes for translation of reconsolidation-based interventions.

    • Amy L. Milton
    News & Views
  • Dong and colleagues investigated mechanisms mediating neurodegeneration in multiple sclerosis and identified a direct role for oxidized phosphatidylcholines (OxPCs) in driving CNS cell death. Microglia activity, mediated by the lipid sensor TREM2 and a neutralizing OxPC antibody, were capable of rescuing OxPC-induced neurotoxicity.

    • Kathryn M. Monroe
    • Gilbert Di Paolo
    News & Views
  • How does the intricate balance of gene regulation and expression within individual neurons relate to electrophysiological oscillations and, ultimately, cognition? In a new study, Berto and colleagues take an important step toward addressing this question by correlating oscillatory biomarkers of successful memory encoding with gene expression on a within-participant basis.

    • Arjun R. Khanna
    • Ziv M. Williams
    News & Views
  • Persistent negative emotional states, such as anxiety, suppress social behavior and vice versa. A new report identifies a novel neural circuit that generates persistent anxiety states and describes how competing excitatory and inhibitory components of this circuit battle to pattern social behavior.

    • Dakota Blackman
    • Annegret L. Falkner
    News & Views
  • Good–bad binary classifications fail to describe reactive astrocytes in CNS disorders. Here, 81 researchers reach consensus on widespread misconceptions and provide definitions and recommendations for future research on reactive astrocytes.

    • Carole Escartin
    • Elena Galea
    • Alexei Verkhratsky
    Consensus Statement
  • A new study discovered that ventral pallidal neurons projecting back to the nucleus accumbens promote consumption. The findings call into question the accepted direction of information flow through the ventral basal ganglia and open new avenues for studying how consumption is regulated in proportion to subjective value.

    • Fred Marbach
    • Marcus Stephenson-Jones
    News & Views
  • Fibrotic scarring after inflammation is well-characterized in peripheral tissues, but its role in the CNS is less clear. A new study shows that local proliferation of CNS fibroblasts drives fibrotic scar formation in response to circulating inflammatory cell infiltration in a model of multiple sclerosis, which may limit repair.

    • Michael V. Sofroniew
    News & Views
  • Gene-based therapies offer the promise of long-lasting clinical benefit for both genetic and sporadic neurodegenerative diseases. Sun and Roy highlight recent successes and caveats, offering a prospective glimpse into this rapidly emerging arena.

    • Jichao Sun
    • Subhojit Roy
    Review Article
  • A new study reveals that maternal immune activation promotes sex-biased activation of the integrated stress response in the developing mouse brain and that this mechanistically contributes to the onset of autism-related behaviors uniquely in male offspring.

    • Kristine E. Zengeler
    • John R. Lukens
    News & Views
  • A new study proposes an exciting new model of neuronal diversification in the developing enteric nervous system (ENS) and establishes a detailed molecular taxonomy for enteric neurons. Their findings open new horizons for ENS research and for developing cell-based therapies for ENS disorders.

    • Julia Ganz
    News & Views
  • Recent research has discovered new connections between cerebellar neurons, revealed abundant inputs related to reward, demonstrated a cellular solution for the temporal credit assignment problem and restructured theories of cerebellar learning.

    • Chris I. De Zeeuw
    • Stephen G. Lisberger
    • Jennifer L. Raymond
    Perspective
  • One of the mechanisms driving aging and neurodegenerative diseases is the accumulation of senescent cells, while their elimination mitigates age-related decline. A new report details how, with aging, changes in the dentate gyrus microenvironment lead to natural-killer-cell-mediated clearance of neurogenic senescent cells, resulting in cognitive decline.

    • Nurit Papismadov
    • Valery Krizhanovsky
    News & Views
  • This Review discusses two high-throughput techniques—massively parallel reporter assays (MPRAs) and CRISPR screens—focusing on their potential to validate non-coding genetic risk variants in human stem cell models of complex brain disorders.

    • Kayla G. Townsley
    • Kristen J. Brennand
    • Laura M. Huckins
    Review Article