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Matilda Haas, Zhengdong Qu, Tae Hwan Kim, Ernesto Vargas, Kenneth Campbell, Steven Petrou, Seong-Seng Tan, Christopher A. Reid and Julian Heng Perturbations in cortical development and neuronal network excitability arising from prenatal exposure to benzodiazepines in mice European Journal of Neuroscience 37

Version of Record online: 4 MAR 2013 | DOI: 10.1111/ejn.12167

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The secreted neurotransmitter GABA has been proposed to influence the migratory behaviour and terminal differentiation of embryonic cortical neurons, but its long term effects on cortical development and adult brain function are unknown. In this study, we report that prenatal exposure to the GABAA receptor agonist diazepam results in long-lasting changes to the distribution of interneurons within the cortex, and alters the sensitivity of mice to a proconvulsant challenge. Our studies show that exposure of the fetal brain to benzodiazepines has consequences for the positioning of neurons and cortical network excitability.

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