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Subplate neurons: their biopsychosocial role in cognitive and neurodevelopmental disorders, nociception and stress

Journal of Neurology & Stroke
Rosana Maria Tristão, Andressa Carvalho Oliveira, Nágelin Ferreira Barreto, Carlos Nogueira Aucélio, Geraldo Magela Fernandes, Karina Nascimento Costa, José Alfredo Lacerda de Jesus

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A systematic review was carried out of the literature especially in humans reporting the origin, functions and neural changes of the subplate zone and the relationships with neurodevelopmental disorders and stress or nociceptive reaction in neonates. Thirty-two articles with established criteria were identified. Academic Google, SciElo, PubMed, Scopus, Cochraine Library and Web of Science databases were searched until January 2020 for scientific papers written in any language. Subplate neurons are present during embryogenesis of the nervous system and shortly after birth. Through them, the brain forms the first connections between the thalamus and the cortex originating sensory and cognitive capacities. Because of this, disorders involving migration and apoptosis failures or tissue injury can lead to psychiatric disorders, such as autism and schizophrenia, and to morphological alterations that may alter cognitive functions, modify the perception of pain in fetuses and neonates and have repercussions in adult life. Accumulative evidences reveal the importance of subplate neurons for neurodevelopment, previously ignored because they are transient cells. The elucidation of some morphological aspects of the cerebral cortex may explain mental disorders, the beginning of the perception of nociceptive stimuli and their implication in the long term.


subplate neurons; neonate; nociception; stress cognition; neurodevelopmental disorder