Experience-dependent development of parvalbumin interneurons in the prefrontal cortex: age-dependency and physiological mechanisms
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During development, the brain uses experiences to fine-tune and adapt to an ever-changing environment. However, this also renders it vulnerable to adverse experiences and lack of critical inputs during critical periods of development. Specifically, the prefrontal cortex (PFC) may be affected by experience-dependent developmental changes, because of its protracted maturational period and its involvement in complex tasks. Recently, perisomatic inhibition has been implicated in the effects of social play deprivation on PFC development. Parvalbumin (PV) interneurons are one of the main contributors to perisomatic inhibition. I therefore ask here, how different experiences affect the development of PV interneurons in the rodent PFC, and to what extent does the developmental stage influence the outcomes. I report evidence that prenatal stress, maternal separation, adolescent and adult stress, social isolation, immune activation, oxidative stress, environmental enrichment, and possibly early life sleep disruption affect the PV interneuron subpopulation in the PFC. I also discuss several physiological processes that may be involved. Outcomes are indeed dependent on developmental stage, and with more research the temporal and spatial profile of critical and sensitive periods may be elucidated.