Latest Reviews

  • Perspective |

    Major compelling questions about the functional role of the locus coeruleus nucleus that had been difficult to answer, given its remote location and diminutive size, have now become accessible via new neuroscience tools. In this Perspective, 14 investigators provide a historical context for recent discoveries and outline new vistas for investigation.

    • Gina R. Poe
    • , Stephen Foote
    • , Oxana Eschenko
    • , Joshua P. Johansen
    • , Sebastien Bouret
    • , Gary Aston-Jones
    • , Carolyn W. Harley
    • , Denise Manahan-Vaughan
    • , David Weinshenker
    • , Rita Valentino
    • , Craig Berridge
    • , Daniel J. Chandler
    • , Barry Waterhouse
    •  & Susan J. Sara
  • Review Article |

    Goal-directed primate behaviour is guided by abstract rules that group events and experiences into meaningful concepts. Here, Mansouri and colleagues discuss the distributed cortical and subcortical brain regions thought to underlie the formation, maintenance and implementation of abstract rules and propose a unified framework describing the neural architecture of rule-guided primate behaviour.

    • Farshad Alizadeh Mansouri
    • , David J. Freedman
    •  & Mark J. Buckley
  • Review Article |

    A resurgence in interest in the therapeutic potential of psychedelic drugs has boosted research into their neurobiological and cognitive effects. Vollenweider and Preller review recent advances in the field and consider the implications of recent discoveries for the therapeutic use of psychedelics.

    • Franz X. Vollenweider
    •  & Katrin H. Preller
  • Review Article |

    Sex steroid hormones such as the potent oestrogen 17β-oestradiol have only recently started to be acknowledged as important neuromodulators. Taxier, Gross and Frick review 17β-oestradiol signalling in the brain and its effects on different types of memory.

    • Lisa R. Taxier
    • , Kellie S. Gross
    •  & Karyn M. Frick
  • Viewpoint |

    To mark the 20th anniversary of Nature Reviews Neuroscience, in this Viewpoint article we asked some of the researchers who have authored pieces published in the journal in recent years for their views on how the field, and their areas within it, have developed over the past two decades.

    • Danielle S. Bassett
    • , Kathleen E. Cullen
    • , Simon B. Eickhoff
    • , Martha J. Farah
    • , Yukiko Goda
    • , Patrick Haggard
    • , Hailan Hu
    • , Yasmin L. Hurd
    • , Sheena A. Josselyn
    • , Baljit S. Khakh
    • , Jürgen A. Knoblich
    • , Panayiota Poirazi
    • , Russell A. Poldrack
    • , Marco Prinz
    • , Pieter R. Roelfsema
    • , Tara L. Spires-Jones
    • , Mriganka Sur
    •  & Hiroki R. Ueda
  • Perspective |

    Reinforcement learning has been suggested to come in two flavours: model-free and model-based. In this Perspective, Collins and Cockburn explain why viewing reinforcement learning through this dichotomous lens is not always accurate or helpful, and suggest paths forward.

    • Anne G. E. Collins
    •  & Jeffrey Cockburn
  • Review Article |

    Although not electrically excitable, astrocytes display a complex repertoire of intracellular Ca2+ signalling. Semyanov, Henneberger and Agarwal describe experimental preparations and methods for studying Ca2+ activity in astrocytes, their limitations and the ongoing technical and conceptual challenges in the interpretation of astrocytic Ca2+ events and their spatio-temporal patterns.

    • Alexey Semyanov
    • , Christian Henneberger
    •  & Amit Agarwal
  • Perspective |

    Although inputs and outputs that carry social signals are anatomically restricted to distinct subnuclear regions of the amygdala, social behaviours are not. This fact may be explained by the operation of multidimensional processing in parallel with subcircuits of genetically identical neurons that serve specialized and functionally dissociable functions.

    • Katalin M. Gothard
  • Review Article |

    A number of spatially selective neurons that encode an animal’s distance and direction from environmental features have been proposed by theoretical studies and experimentally identified. Andrej Bicanski and Neil Burgess summarize our current understanding of vector coding cells and describe their contribution to spatial cognition.

    • Andrej Bicanski
    •  & Neil Burgess
  • Review Article |

    The causal role of chromatin modifications has been difficult to study in the brains of behaving animals. Yim, Teague and Nestler review locus-specific neuroepigenome-editing tools to define causal relationships between chromatin modifications and their molecular, cellular, circuit and behavioural consequences.

    • Yun Young Yim
    • , Collin D. Teague
    •  & Eric J. Nestler
  • Review Article |

    Satellite glial cells surround the cell bodies of neurons in peripheral ganglia and are activated by numerous types of nerve injury and inflammation. In this Review, Hanani and Spray discuss the cellular changes in these cells that contribute to four common types of pain.

    • Menachem Hanani
    •  & David C. Spray
  • Review Article |

    The homeostatic CNS environment is maintained by the function of the blood–blood barrier and neurovascular coupling. Kaplan, Chow and Gu describe how neural and vascular activity act on one another with regard to the blood–blood barrier and neurovascular coupling.

    • Luke Kaplan
    • , Brian W. Chow
    •  & Chenghua Gu
  • Review Article |

    Ageing is the main risk factor for Alzheimer disease (AD), but the mechanisms connecting ageing to this disease remain incompletely understood. In this Review, Saez-Atienzar and Masliah examine whether cellular senescence may have a role in linking ageing and AD.

    • Sara Saez-Atienzar
    •  & Eliezer Masliah
  • Review Article |

    The human motor cortex is selectively vulnerable in numerous neurodegenerative diseases. In this Review, McColgan et al. integrate layer-specific physiology with pathobiology in the motor cortex, thereby generating hypotheses that can be tested in humans using ultra-high-resolution neuroimaging techniques.

    • Peter McColgan
    • , Julie Joubert
    • , Sarah J. Tabrizi
    •  & Geraint Rees
  • Review Article |

    There have been a number of recent advances in the use of transplanted cells to enable functional recovery in animal models of spinal cord injury. Fischer and colleagues review this work and describe the use of neural progenitor cell transplants to restore connectivity in key neural systems following spinal damage.

    • Itzhak Fischer
    • , Jennifer N. Dulin
    •  & Michael A. Lane
  • Perspective |

    In this Perspective, Hanno Würbel and colleagues argue that a disregard for incorporating biological variation in study design is an important cause of poor reproducibility in animal research. They put the case for the use of systematic heterogenization of study samples and conditions in studies to improve reproducibility.

    • Bernhard Voelkl
    • , Naomi S. Altman
    • , Anders Forsman
    • , Wolfgang Forstmeier
    • , Jessica Gurevitch
    • , Ivana Jaric
    • , Natasha A. Karp
    • , Martien J. Kas
    • , Holger Schielzeth
    • , Tom Van de Casteele
    •  & Hanno Würbel
  • Review Article |

    Models of dendrites have been instrumental in our understanding of their functions. Poirazi and Papoutsi review the major contributions of dendritic models, including those already proved or waiting to be experimentally verified, and highlight successful interactions between the modelling and experimental neuroscience communities.

    • Panayiota Poirazi
    •  & Athanasia Papoutsi
  • Review Article |

    Syllables play a central role in speech production and perception. In this Review, Poeppel and Assaneo outline how a simple biophysical model of the speech production system as an oscillator explains the remarkably stable rhythmic structure of spoken language.

    • David Poeppel
    •  & M. Florencia Assaneo
  • Perspective |

    The backpropagation of error (backprop) algorithm is frequently used to train deep neural networks in machine learning, but it has not been viewed as being implemented by the brain. In this Perspective, however, Lillicrap and colleagues argue that the key principles underlying backprop may indeed have a role in brain function.

    • Timothy P. Lillicrap
    • , Adam Santoro
    • , Luke Marris
    • , Colin J. Akerman
    •  & Geoffrey Hinton
  • Review Article |

    Early processing in subcortical areas has been underemphasized in models of how perception and cognition are altered in psychiatric disorders. Here, McFadyen and colleagues review recent discoveries in how subcortical–cortical dynamics contribute to perception and higher-order cognition.

    • Jessica McFadyen
    • , Raymond J. Dolan
    •  & Marta I. Garrido
  • Review Article |

    The lateral habenula (LHb) has received increasing attention in part because dysfunction of this region may play a part in several psychiatric disorders, notably depression. In this Review, Hu et al. examine the neural circuits, physiological functions and potential pathophysiological roles of the LHb.

    • Hailan Hu
    • , Yihui Cui
    •  & Yan Yang
  • 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
  • Perspective |

    Prior experience is incorporated into the brain’s predictive models of the world, enabling the accurate interpretation of and responses to new sensory information. In this Perspective, Teufel and Fletcher make the case for an important distinction between two forms of prediction that may advance our understanding of brain function.

    • Christoph Teufel
    •  & Paul C. Fletcher
  • 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 |

    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 |

    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 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