Guarnieri FC - de Chevigny A - Falace A - Cardoso C
Dialogues in clinical neuroscience
The development of the cerebral cortex requires complex sequential processes that have to be precisely orchestrated. The localization and timing of neuronal progenitor proliferation and of neuronal migration define the identity, laminar positioning, and specific connectivity of each single cortical neuron. Alterations at any step of this organized series of events-due to genetic mutations or environmental factors-lead to defined brain pathologies collectively known as malformations of cortical development (MCDs), which are now recognized as a leading cause of drug-resistant epilepsy and intellectual disability. In this heterogeneous group of disorders, macroscopic alterations of brain structure (eg, heterotopic nodules, small or absent gyri, double cortex) can be recognized and probably subtend a general reorganization of neuronal circuits. In this review, we provide an overview of the molecular mechanisms that are implicated in the generation of genetic MCDs associated with aberrations at various steps of neurogenesis and cortical development.