Dynamical changes in neurological diseases and anesthesia

Michelle M. McCarthy, Shi Nung Ching, Miles A. Whittington, Nancy Kopell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Dynamics of neuronal networks can be altered in at least two ways: by changes in connectivity, that is, the physical architecture of the network, or changes in the amplitudes and kinetics of the intrinsic and synaptic currents within and between the elements making up a network. We argue that the latter changes are often overlooked as sources of alterations in network behavior when there are also structural (connectivity) abnormalities present; indeed, they may even give rise to the structural changes observed in these states. Here we look at two clinically relevant states (Parkinson's disease and schizophrenia) and argue that non-structural changes are important in the development of abnormal dynamics within the networks known to be relevant to each disorder. We also discuss anesthesia, since it is entirely acute, thus illustrating the potent effects of changes in synaptic and intrinsic membrane currents in the absence of structural alteration. In each of these, we focus on the role of changes in GABAergic function within microcircuits, stressing literature within the last few years.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)693-703
Number of pages11
JournalCurrent Opinion in Neurobiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2012


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