The structural reorganization of the prefrontal cortex during adolescence as a framework for vulnerability to the environment

Carly M. Drzewiecki, Janice M. Juraska

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Adolescence is a time of increased vulnerability to developing substance use disorders. In part, this may be due to the wide array of neural changes occurring during this time, many of which can be altered by environmental stimuli including drugs. In this review, we will examine the evidence for neuroanatomical changes during adolescence in the prefrontal cortex (PFC), an important neural region involved in decision making and reward processing. Studies of humans and rodent models will be included with an emphasis on work from our lab using rats. Sex differences in neural changes will also be explored especially with regard to puberty and its timing. We will discuss these changes in the context of adolescent vulnerability, arguing that the brain is most influenced by experience (or lack thereof) when developmental processes are occurring.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number173044
JournalPharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior
Volume199
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2020

Keywords

  • Dendritic spine
  • Parvalbumin
  • Perineuronal net
  • Puberty
  • Sensitive period
  • Synapse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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