A Study On Neurodevelopmental Psychiatric Disorders

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Neurodevelopmental psychiatric disorders such as autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia and anxiety disorders, which typically emerge in children and adolescents, have been extensively investigated worldwide for decades. The pathogenesis and mechanism remained unclear, and no effective treatment has been identified so far. Recently, a variety of studies identified prenatal stress (PS) as a risk factor for neurodevelopmental socioemotional disorders (Khashan et al., 2008, Kinney et al., 2008, Ronald et al., 2010, Monk et al., 2012). A popular thesis proposed that socioemotional disorders arise from PS-induced perturbations to early brain development, especially the neurophysiology of amygdala. Various studies have shown that the amygdala is implicated in the pathophysiology of neurodevelopmental psychiatric disorders (Quirk and Gehlert, 2003), also several studies have identified that PS affects amygdala development (Kraszpulski et al., 2006, Laloux et al., 2012). However, little is known about how PS influences the amygdala developmental trajectory. Ehrlich et al. conducted this study to first investigate whether PS has an effect on socioemotional behavior of adolescents and adults, and secondly whether and how PS alters amygdala neuron excitability. They were motivated to explain the relationship among PS, amygdala neuronal activity and socioemotional behaviors because understanding the trajectory of brain development can provide potential targets for intervention of the
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