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Keywords:

  • cerebral cortex;
  • neurotransmitters;
  • radial migration;
  • rostral migratory stream;
  • tangential migration

Abstract

The complex cytoarchitectonic organization of the adult mammalian telencephalon reflects the elaborate patterns of cell migration that contribute to its generation. The migration by neurons in the CNS can broadly be divided into two categories: radial and tangential. Experimental observations in the telencephalon have shown that glutamatergic projection neurons are born in the progenitor compartment of the dorsal telencephalon and migrate radially to integrate the cortical plate, whereas most γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic interneurons are generated in the ganglionic eminences and navigate through multiple tangential paths to settle into distinct telencephalic structures. Despite progress towards the understanding of the genetic determinants that specify the fate of neuronal progenitors, much remains unknown about the mechanisms that direct their migration into specific regions of the telencephalon. Interestingly, besides their function in synaptic transmission, neurotransmitters have been shown to promote several developmental processes that contribute to the establishment and maintenance of the CNS. In this respect, recent studies have highlighted a role for neurotransmitters through activation of their receptors in regulating cell migration in the telencephalon. This review summarizes and discusses the growing body of literature implicating neurotransmitters and their cognate receptors as part of a complex molecular machinery that regulate the migration of immature neurons in the telencephalon during development and in adulthood.