Neuronal Morphology in Autism Spectrum Disorder

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Bélgica Vásquez & Mariano del Sol


Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a group of multifactorial neurodevelopmental disorders, characterized by impaired communication and social interaction skills, and by repetitive and stereotyped behaviors. Multiple studies report that there are synaptic dysfunctions in ASD, in which important substrates such as morphology and neuronal function are involved in this pathogenesis. In this review we discuss the data available at the level of neuronal abnormalities in ASD, and emphasize the morphological aspects of dendrites, dendritic spines, and actin cytoskeleton. Actin- rich dendrites and dendritic spines shape the postsynaptic part of the most excitatory synapses. In ASD, the data points to a dysregulation in dendritic growth and development, as well as an alteration in the density of dendritic spines. This is accompanied by alterations in the remodeling and composition of the neuronal cytoskeleton. In order to better understand the pathophysiology of ASD, further information is needed on how the elements of synaptic morphofunctional changes impact circuits and behavior.

KEY WORDS: Autism spectrum disorder; Dendrites; Dendritic spines; Cytoskeleton; Actin; Morphology.

How to cite this article

VÁSQUEZ, B. & DEL SOL, M. Neuronal morphology in autism spectrum disorder. Int. J. Morphol., 38(5):1513-1518, 2020.