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Special Issue "Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms in Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Brain Tumors"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Neurobiology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 May 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Mario Costa
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Neuroscience, Italian National Research Council (IN-CNR), 56124 Pisa, Italy
Interests: FOXG1-related disorders; Rett syndrome; neurodevelopmental disorders; brain cancer; glioblastoma; cell signaling
Dr. Eleonora Vannini
E-Mail Website
Co-Guest Editor
Institute of Neuroscience, National Council of Research (CNR), Pisa, Italy
Interests: brain cancer; glioblastoma; toxins; epilepsy; brain plasticity
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleague,

The correct morphofunctional shaping and function of the central nervous system (CNS) requires a continuous interaction between intrinsic (genes/molecules expressed within the tissue) and extrinsic (e.g., neural activity) factors at all developmental stages including the adulthoods. Any significant deviation from the normal CNS functions due to social deprivation, environmental factors, genetic and metabolic diseases, immune disorders, infectious diseases or nutritional factors results in abnormal neuronal architecture or connectivity. In this scenario, stem cell self-renewal and differentiation play an important role not only in normal neurodevelopment, but also in brain tumours’ establishment. An example are the stem cells, considered responsible of sustaining tumour growth. These cells emphasized the importance of understanding the cellular dynamics and the molecular pathways regulating neural cell fate. In this Research Topic, we aim at providing a collection of high-impact papers dissecting which cellular and molecular mechanisms are involved into the onset of brain tumour and neurodevelopmental disorders. Accordingly, Original Research or Review articles describing which signalling or specific treatment influence physiologic functions such as neuronal development and CNS tumours will be considered.

Prof. Dr. Mario Costa
Guest Editors
Dr. Eleonora Vannini
Co-Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. There is an Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal. For details about the APC please see here. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Brain tumours
  • Antitumor drugs
  • Tumoral stem cells
  • FOXG1 related disorders

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle
Dual Profile of Environmental Enrichment and Autistic-Like Behaviors in the Maternal Separated Model in Rats
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(3), 1173; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22031173 - 25 Jan 2021
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Background: Environmental Enrichment (EE) has been suggested as a possible therapeutic intervention for neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism. Although the benefits of this therapeutic method have been reported in some animal models and human studies, the unknown pathophysiology of autism as well [...] Read more.
Background: Environmental Enrichment (EE) has been suggested as a possible therapeutic intervention for neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism. Although the benefits of this therapeutic method have been reported in some animal models and human studies, the unknown pathophysiology of autism as well as number of conflicting results, urge for further examination of the therapeutic potential of EE in autism. Therefore, the aim of this study was to examine the effects of environmental enrichment on autism-related behaviors which were induced in the maternal separation (MS) animal model. Material and Methods: Maternally separated (post-natal day (PND) 1–14, 3 h/day) and control male rats were at weaning (PND21) age equally divided into rats housed in enriched environment and normal environment. At adolescence (PND42–50), the four groups were behaviorally tested for direct social interaction, sociability, repetitive behaviors, anxiety behavior, and locomotion. Following completion of the behavioral tests, the blood and brain tissue samples were harvested in order to assess plasma level of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and structural plasticity of brain using ELISA and stereological methods respectively. Results: We found that environmental enrichment reduced repetitive behaviors but failed to improve the impaired sociability and anxiety behaviors which were induced by maternal separation. Indeed, EE exacerbated anxiety and social behaviors deficits in association with increased plasma BDNF level, larger volume of the hippocampus and infra-limbic region and higher number of neurons in the infra-limbic area (p < 0.05). Conclusion: We conclude that environmental enrichment has a significant improvement effect on the repetitive behavior as one of the core autistic-like behaviors induced by maternal separation but has negative effect on the anxiety and social behaviors which might have been modulated by BDNF. Full article
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