Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
[Online ahead of print]

Dysfunction of the Corticostriatal Pathway in Autism Spectrum Disorders


Dysfunction of the Corticostriatal Pathway in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Wei Li et al. J Neurosci Res.


The corticostriatal pathway that carries sensory, motor, and limbic information to the striatum plays a critical role in motor control, action selection, and reward. Dysfunction of this pathway is associated with many neurological and psychiatric disorders. Corticostriatal synapses have unique features in their cortical origins and striatal targets. In this review, we first describe axonal growth and synaptogenesis in the corticostriatal pathway during development, and then summarize the current understanding of the molecular bases of synaptic transmission and plasticity at mature corticostriatal synapses. Genes associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have been implicated in axonal growth abnormalities, imbalance of the synaptic excitation/inhibition ratio, and altered long-term synaptic plasticity in the corticostriatal pathway. Here, we review a number of ASD-associated high-confidence genes, including FMR1, KMT2A, GRIN2B, SCN2A, NLGN1, NLGN3, MET, CNTNAP2, FOXP2, TSHZ3, SHANK3, PTEN, CHD8, MECP2, DYRK1A, RELN, FOXP1, SYNGAP1, and NRXN, and discuss their relevance to proper corticostriatal function.

Keywords: autism spectrum disorders; corticostriatal pathway; long-term depression; long-term potentiation.

Similar articles

See all similar articles



    1. Abudukeyoumu, N., Hernandez-Flores, T., Garcia-Munoz, M., & Arbuthnott, G. W. (2019). Cholinergic modulation of striatal microcircuits. European Journal of Neuroscience, 49(5), 604-622.
    1. Ahn, K. J., Jeong, H. K., Choi, H. S., Ryoo, S. R., Kim, Y. J., Goo, J. S., … Song, W. J. (2006). DYRK1A BAC transgenic mice show altered synaptic plasticity with learning and memory defects. Neurobiology of Disease, 22(3), 463-472.
    1. Anderson, G. R., Galfin, T., Xu, W., Aoto, J., Malenka, R. C., & Südhof, T. C. (2012). Candidate autism gene screen identifies critical role for cell-adhesion molecule CASPR2 in dendritic arborization and spine development. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109(44), 18120-18125.
    1. Araujo, D. J., Anderson, A. G., Berto, S., Runnels, W., Harper, M., Ammanuel, S., … Konopka, G. (2015). FoxP1 orchestration of ASD-relevant signaling pathways in the striatum. Genes & Development, 29(20), 2081-2096.
    1. Armstrong, N. C., Anderson, R. C., & McDermott, K. W. (2019). Reelin: Diverse roles in central nervous system development, health and disease. International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology, 112, 72-75.

LinkOut - more resources