Contact: Jules Asher
NIH/National Institute of Mental Health
Caption: Cross-sections of the part of the rat brain that connects the left and right hemisphere (corpus collosum) show stunted development of neuronal wiring, called axons, in an animal that received an antidepressant (right) during a critical period around the time of birth. A protective sheath, called myelin (visible in normal animal at left), that normally wraps the axons and boosts their efficiency, failed to develop normally in the treated animal. The resultant inefficient neuronal communications could underlie the pattern of deficits seen in autism.
Credit: Rick C.S. Lin, Ph.D., University of Mississippi Medical Center
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Related news release: Perinatal antidepressant stunts brain development in rats