Axo-axonic cells in neuropsychiatric disorders: a systematic review
Front. Cell. Neurosci.. 2023-06-26; 17:
Imbalance between excitation and inhibition in the cerebral cortex is one of the main theories in neuropsychiatric disorder pathophysiology. Cortical inhibition is finely regulated by a variety of highly specialized GABAergic interneuron types, which are thought to organize neural network activities. Among interneurons, axo-axonic cells are unique in making synapses with the axon initial segment of pyramidal neurons. Alterations of axo-axonic cells have been proposed to be implicated in disorders including epilepsy, schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorder. However, evidence for the alteration of axo-axonic cells in disease has only been examined in narrative reviews. By performing a systematic review of studies investigating axo-axonic cells and axo-axonic communication in epilepsy, schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorder, we outline convergent findings and discrepancies in the literature. Overall, the implication of axo-axonic cells in neuropsychiatric disorders might have been overstated. Additional work is needed to assess initial, mostly indirect findings, and to unravel how defects in axo-axonic cells translates to cortical dysregulation and, in turn, to pathological states.