Neuron-Glia Interactions in Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Cells. 2020 Sep 27;9(10):2176. doi: 10.3390/cells9102176.


Recent studies have revealed synaptic dysfunction to be a hallmark of various psychiatric diseases, and that glial cells participate in synapse formation, development, and plasticity. Glial cells contribute to neuroinflammation and synaptic homeostasis, the latter being essential for maintaining the physiological function of the central nervous system (CNS). In particular, glial cells undergo gliotransmission and regulate neuronal activity in tripartite synapses via ion channels (gap junction hemichannel, volume regulated anion channel, and bestrophin-1), receptors (for neurotransmitters and cytokines), or transporters (GLT-1, GLAST, and GATs) that are expressed on glial cell membranes. In this review, we propose that dysfunction in neuron-glia interactions may contribute to the pathogenesis of neurodevelopmental disorders. Understanding the mechanisms of neuron-glia interaction for synapse formation and maturation will contribute to the development of novel therapeutic targets of neurodevelopmental disorders.

Keywords: ADHD; ASD; epilepsy; neurodevelopmental disorder; neuron-glia interactions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Astrocytes / metabolism
  • Astrocytes / pathology
  • Homeostasis / genetics
  • Humans
  • Neurodevelopmental Disorders / genetics*
  • Neurodevelopmental Disorders / pathology
  • Neurogenesis / genetics*
  • Neuroglia / metabolism*
  • Neuroglia / pathology
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Neurons / pathology