Review Articles

  • Review Article |

    Compulsion is a key symptom of drug addiction. In this Review, Lüscher, Robbins and Everitt integrate the neural and psychological mechanisms that underlie the transition to compulsion within a learning theory framework, highlighting the distinctions between compulsive drug taking and compulsive drug seeking.

    • Christian Lüscher
    • , Trevor W. Robbins
    •  & Barry J. Everitt
  • Review Article |

    Learning the value of stimuli and actions from others — social learning — is crucial for survival. In this review, Olsson, Knapska and Lindström discuss the neural and computational systems underlying social and self-experienced learning, and integrate this knowledge with behavioural phenomena of varying complexity.

    • Andreas Olsson
    • , Ewelina Knapska
    •  & Björn Lindström
  • Review Article |

    Voltage-gated calcium channels have an essential role in the regulation of neurotransmitter release. Dolphin and Lee describe here how advances in the techniques available to study presynaptic voltage-gated calcium channels have provided insight into their composition, trafficking, regulation and contributions to presynaptic function.

    • Annette C. Dolphin
    •  & Amy Lee
  • Review Article |

    In recent decades, our understanding of the molecules and pathways involved in the classical axon degeneration pathway, Wallerian degeneration, has been transformed. Coleman and Höke synthesize the recent developments in the field and discuss how the findings might be translated to aid the treatment of human disease.

    • Michael P. Coleman
    •  & Ahmet Höke
  • Review Article |

    Interactions between immune cells and neurons are now widely believed to be important for the regulation of brain function. In their Review, Greenhalgh, David and Bennett highlight the importance of interactions between resident and infiltrating immune cells and the brain’s other major cellular population — glial cells — for brain function.

    • Andrew D. Greenhalgh
    • , Sam David
    •  & F. Chris Bennett
  • Review Article |

    The dentate gyrus has an important role in memory formation in the hippocampus. In this Review, Thomas Hainmueller and Marlene Bartos examine the cells and circuits of the dentate gyrus, and discuss the evidence indicating that this brain region has multiple mnemonic functions.

    • Thomas Hainmueller
    •  & Marlene Bartos
  • Review Article |

    Much progress has been made in understanding astrocytes, but details on their functions and interactions remain difficult to determine. Yu, Nagai and Khakh give an overview of recent advances in the toolbox for molecular, genetic, morphological and physiological investigations into astrocytes.

    • Xinzhu Yu
    • , Jun Nagai
    •  & Baljit S. Khakh
  • Review Article |

    Cell-extrinsic changes in the systemic environment, transported to the site of action by the blood, have recently been shown to contribute to brain ageing. In this Review, Pluvinage and Wyss-Coray discuss how circulating molecules in the blood modulate brain function in health, ageing and disease.

    • John V. Pluvinage
    •  & Tony Wyss-Coray
  • Review Article |

    Changes in cortical gain enable neurons to respond adaptively to changing inputs. In this Review, Ferguson and Cardin describe the mechanisms that modulate cortical gain, and its effects on and relevance for cognition and behaviour.

    • Katie A. Ferguson
    •  & Jessica A. Cardin
  • Review Article |

    There has been considerable interest in cell-replacement strategies for the treatment of Parkinson disease. In this Review, Parmar, Grealish and Henchcliffe highlight some of the key developments in this field, with a focus on therapies based on dopamine neurons derived from human pluripotent stem cells.

    • Malin Parmar
    • , Shane Grealish
    •  & Claire Henchcliffe
  • Review Article |

    Tissue-clearing methods are now allowing 3D imaging of intact tissues and some entire mammals. In this Review, Ueda and colleagues discuss the various tissue-clearing methods, related techniques and data analysis and management, as well as the application of these methods in neuroscience.

    • Hiroki R. Ueda
    • , Ali Ertürk
    • , Kwanghun Chung
    • , Viviana Gradinaru
    • , Alain Chédotal
    • , Pavel Tomancak
    •  & Philipp J. Keller
  • Review Article |

    The impact of RNA modifications, such as RNA methylation, on gene expression and cellular function has been the subject of recent intense investigations. Here Dominissini and colleagues provide an overview of the mechanisms of such epitranscriptomic regulation and their functional consequences in the nervous system.

    • Ido Livneh
    • , Sharon Moshitch-Moshkovitz
    • , Ninette Amariglio
    • , Gideon Rechavi
    •  & Dan Dominissini
  • Review Article |

    Although the retinas of most vertebrates share the same basic blueprint, there is substantial variability in their detailed structure and function. Baden and colleagues describe the extent of this diversity and explore the factors that contribute to species-specific adaptations in retinal organization.

    • Tom Baden
    • , Thomas Euler
    •  & Philipp Berens
  • Review Article |

    In Alzheimer disease, the accumulation of amyloid-β (Aβ) is thought to drive both tau pathology and neurodegeneration. In this Review, van der Kant et al. discuss the evidence for Aβ-independent drivers of tau pathology in Alzheimer disease and the implications for therapeutic development.

    • Rik van der Kant
    • , Lawrence S. B. Goldstein
    •  & Rik Ossenkoppele
  • Review Article |

    In individuals with inflammation of the central nervous system, B cells enter and accumulate in the cerebrospinal fluid, brain parenchyma and perivascular spaces. Here, Joseph Sabatino and colleagues review the contributions of B cells — both in the periphery and sequestered within the central nervous system — to the pathogenesis of several autoimmune and neurodegenerative diseases.

    • Joseph J. Sabatino Jr
    • , Anne-Katrin Pröbstel
    •  & Scott S. Zamvil
  • Review Article |

    Emerging data suggest a key role for dopamine in the perceptual disturbances that occur in psychotic disorders. In this Review, Horga and Abi-Dargham discuss a framework focused on perceptual inference, emphasizing the role of dopamine and the relevant associative cortico–striatal circuits.

    • Guillermo Horga
    •  & Anissa Abi-Dargham
  • Review Article |

    The complex spatiotemporal organization and regulation of sleep-related brain activity has been appreciated only in the past decade. Here, Adamantidis and colleagues review neurobiological mechanisms underlying local and large-scale neuronal network oscillations in the sleeping mammalian brain and how they relate to the global architecture of sleep.

    • Antoine R. Adamantidis
    • , Carolina Gutierrez Herrera
    •  & Thomas C. Gent
  • Review Article |

    RNA-binding proteins regulate the use of mRNA during periods of stress, in part through the formation of transient membraneless organelles known as stress granules. In this Review, Wolozin and Ivanov examine the biology of such granules in neurons and their potential roles in a number of neurodegenerative diseases.

    • Benjamin Wolozin
    •  & Pavel Ivanov
  • Review Article |

    Rodent models are essential for characterizing the mechanisms underlying depression as well as for the development of fast-acting and innovative antidepressants. Here, Anand Gururajan and colleagues review strategies for inducing depressive-like behaviours and endophenotypes, and discuss how genetic and circuit-dissection techniques might be used to refine existing models and generate new ones.

    • Anand Gururajan
    • , Andreas Reif
    • , John F. Cryan
    •  & David A. Slattery
  • Review Article |

    Astrocytes in the spinal cord and brain are involved in the regulation of physiological and pathological pain signalling. Ji and colleagues here describe the cellular and molecular mechanisms through which astrocytes contribute to the induction and maintenance of chronic pain and itch.

    • Ru-Rong Ji
    • , Christopher R. Donnelly
    •  & Maiken Nedergaard
  • Review Article |

    The brain’s default network is thought to comprise a set of regions in the association cortex. Randy Buckner and Lauren DiNicola review findings from humans, monkeys and rodents indicating that multiple subnetworks make up the default network and explore the implications of these observations.

    • Randy L. Buckner
    •  & Lauren M. DiNicola
  • Review Article |

    The perirhinal cortex forms part of the medial temporal lobe and has an established role in episodic memory formation. Yasushi Miyashita reviews the neural circuitry and the function of the perirhinal cortex and proposes that it acts as a hub linking episodic and semantic memory.

    • Yasushi Miyashita
  • Review Article |

    Humans and other animals use spatial hearing to rapidly localize events in the environment. Here, van der Heijden and colleagues discuss the latest insights from neurophysiological, neuroimaging and computational modelling studies into the cortical encoding of sound location.

    • Kiki van der Heijden
    • , Josef P. Rauschecker
    • , Beatrice de Gelder
    •  & Elia Formisano
  • Review Article |

    Mental imagery plays a role in a variety of cognitive processes such as memory recall. In this review, Joel Pearson discusses recent insights into the neural mechanisms that underlie visual imagery, how imagery can be objectively and reliably measured, and how it affects general cognition.

    • Joel Pearson
  • Review Article |

    The whisker sensorimotor system provides rodents with tactile information about their immediate facial environment. In this Review, Carl Petersen examines the complex neuronal circuits of the whisker-related primary somatosensory cortex and how they contribute to sensorimotor processing.

    • Carl C. H. Petersen
  • Review Article |

    Several specialized macrophage populations reside in the structures that border the mammalian CNS, including the meninges, perivascular spaces and choroid plexus. Prinz and colleagues review the development and characteristics of these ‘CNS-associated macrophages’ and describe their proposed contributions to CNS function and disease.

    • Katrin Kierdorf
    • , Takahiro Masuda
    • , Marta Joana Costa Jordão
    •  & Marco Prinz
  • Review Article |

    Optopharmacology enables endogenous ligands, receptors and ion channels to be rendered sensitive to light. Paoletti, Ellis-Davies and Mourot give an overview of current optopharmacological techniques and tools and describe the neuroscientific insights they have uncovered.

    • Pierre Paoletti
    • , Graham C. R. Ellis-Davies
    •  & Alexandre Mourot
  • Review Article |

    Specialized extracellular matrix structures known as perineuronal nets surround the soma and dendrites of many CNS neurons. Fawcett and colleagues provide an update on our current understanding of perineuronal net composition, formation and functional roles in brain function and disease.

    • James W. Fawcett
    • , Toshitaka Oohashi
    •  & Tommaso Pizzorusso
  • Review Article |

    The striatum is crucial for learning and decision-making. Cox and Witten provide an updated overview of the roles of different parts of the striatal circuit in learning and decision-making, showing how recent experiments support and contradict previous models.

    • Julia Cox
    •  & Ilana B. Witten
  • Review Article |

    The short-term retention of working memory is accompanied by neural delay activity. Sreenivasan and D’Esposito describe how delay activity can be assessed, discuss where in the brain it occurs and why, and examine the possible mechanisms that underlie it.

    • Kartik K. Sreenivasan
    •  & Mark D’Esposito
  • Review Article |

    Spinal neural circuits are established through the navigation of multiple types of neuronal axon to their appropriate synaptic targets. Chédotal reviews the cellular and molecular mechanisms that control this complex wiring, incorporating recent discoveries of new guidance factors.

    • Alain Chédotal
  • Review Article |

    Much of the mammalian nervous system is innervated by neurons that express and release 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT). In this Review, Okaty, Commons and Dymecki explore the diversity in the properties and function of the 5-HT neuronal system.

    • Benjamin W. Okaty
    • , Kathryn G. Commons
    •  & Susan M. Dymecki
  • Review Article |

    Recent studies indicate that cerebellar dysfunction contributes to the aetiology of many neurodevelopmental disorders. In this review, Gallo and colleagues cover recent discoveries in basic cerebellar research, linking them to human imaging and preclinical work on complex brain disorders with motor and non-motor deficits.

    • Aaron Sathyanesan
    • , Joy Zhou
    • , Joseph Scafidi
    • , Detlef H. Heck
    • , Roy V. Sillitoe
    •  & Vittorio Gallo
  • Review Article |

    There is growing evidence for activity-dependent plasticity at inhibitory GABAergic synapses. In this Review, Chiu and colleagues propose that an array of molecular mechanisms promotes the parallel regulation of synapses formed by distinct presynaptic interneurons innervating perisomatic or dendritic targets.

    • Chiayu Q. Chiu
    • , Andrea Barberis
    •  & Michael J. Higley
  • Review Article |

    Here, Hong and Lieber review recent developments in electrode technologies for the recording of single-unit spiking activity. They focus on advances in electrodes with high spatial integration, long-term stability and multifunctional capacities.

    • Guosong Hong
    •  & Charles M. Lieber
  • Review Article |

    Electrical synapses comprise intercellular channels termed gap junctions and are found in vertebrate and invertebrate nervous systems. In this Review, Pepe Alcamí and Alberto Pereda examine the properties of electrical synapses that influence neural circuit dynamics without modifying gap junction conductance.

    • Pepe Alcamí
    •  & Alberto E. Pereda
  • Review Article |

    The role of glia in supporting and modulating neuronal activity has been an active area of research. In this Review, Patel et al. discuss the evidence and mechanisms whereby reactivated glia contribute to the development and progression of epilepsy.

    • Dipan C. Patel
    • , Bhanu P. Tewari
    • , Lata Chaunsali
    •  & Harald Sontheimer
  • Review Article |

    Recent years have seen a growing interest in the neurobiological basis of paternal caregiving. Feldman and colleagues review studies that have shed light on the circuits that underlie paternal care in mammals and the consequences of this care for fathers and their offspring.

    • Ruth Feldman
    • , Katharina Braun
    •  & Frances A. Champagne
  • Review Article |

    Oxidative damage plays a key role in the development of Alzheimer disease. In this Review, Butterfield and Halliwell discuss how this damage relates to impaired brain glucose metabolism and proteostasis defects and how knowledge of it may suggest potential therapies.

    • D. Allan Butterfield
    •  & Barry Halliwell
  • Review Article |

    Epigenetic mechanisms play an important part in learning and memory. Here, Campbell and Wood give an overview of epigenetic mechanisms that are necessary for such processes, with a particular focus on the bidirectional relationship between the epigenome and the synapse.

    • Rianne R. Campbell
    •  & Marcelo A. Wood
  • Review Article |

    Neurosecretion is controlled by SNAREs and SNARE-binding proteins and is initiated by the influx of Ca2+ ions through voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs). In this Review, Dittman and Ryan discuss progress in our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying the function of VGCCs and fusion machinery.

    • Jeremy S. Dittman
    •  & Timothy A. Ryan
  • Review Article |

    Understanding the complex interplay of cells that protect neurons early in Alzheimer disease but later contribute to neurodegeneration is important for developing effective therapeutics. In this Review, Henstridge and colleagues discuss the contributions of multiple cell types to disease pathogenesis.

    • Christopher M. Henstridge
    • , Bradley T. Hyman
    •  & Tara L. Spires-Jones
  • Review Article |

    Why is the human cerebral cortex folded? Llinares-Benadero and Borrell provide an overview of the mechanical, cellular and molecular factors — and the interactions among them — that influence cortical folding in gyrencephalic species.

    • Cristina Llinares-Benadero
    •  & Víctor Borrell
  • Review Article |

    In addition to the central pacemaker, the mammalian brain contains additional circadian clocks. In this Review, Greco and Sassone–Corsi discuss how systemic homeostasis relies on the coordinated communication between these clocks.

    • Carolina Magdalen Greco
    •  & Paolo Sassone–Corsi
  • Review Article |

    Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder caused by selective loss of orexin-producing neurons. Scammell and colleagues describe the functions of orexin neurons and the effects of their loss and review evidence implicating the immune system in the pathogenesis of the disorder.

    • Carrie E. Mahoney
    • , Andrew Cogswell
    • , Igor J. Koralnik
    •  & Thomas E. Scammell
  • Review Article |

    Maladaptive modulation of learning, memory and affect by opioids is linked to dysfunctional neurogenesis. In this Review, Kibaly and colleagues discuss this link and how strategies that target neurogenesis to rescue opioid-dependent learning, memory and affect impairments constitute future directions for anti-addiction therapies.

    • Cherkaouia Kibaly
    • , Chi Xu
    • , Catherine M. Cahill
    • , Christopher J. Evans
    •  & Ping-Yee Law