Until recently, the consequences of oxidative stress have mostly been related to neurodegenerative diseases. However, there is increasing evidence pointing to redox imbalance during neurodevelopment as a possible critical element in the pathophysiology of major psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia, autism and bipolar disorders. This symposium will cover recent developments in redox signaling mechanisms and discuss evidence suggesting that periods of oxidative stress can affect the normal development of cortical circuits, with special emphasis on inhibitory circuits involved in psychiatric disorders.
The main purpose of the symposium is to gather scientists working in related areas to raise awareness of the potential impact of redox signaling systems on brain development and to discuss ongoing research on the role of these systems in psychiatric disease. The symposium will display 20 speakers grouped in sessions covering a) synaptic dynamics and excitatory/inhibitory balance, b) redox signaling and oxidative stress, both in clinical studies and in animal models, c) the role of stress and immune activation on the modulation of inhibitory circuits, and d) developmental aspects of interneuron maturation and redox modulation, highlighting changes that may occur during adolescence and their impact on the emergence of psychiatric disorder symptoms. The symposium also includes a session dedicated to oral presentations which will be selected from submitted abstracts and a session reserved for poster presentations. Overall, as the potential role of oxidative stress in psychiatric disorders is just now gaining wide visibility, this is a timely symposium. Further, it will permit an exploration into possible mechanisms that result in the abnormal excitation-inhibition balance the field now attributes to major psychiatric disorders. These discussions will allow formulating strategies for novel therapeutic, and even preventive, approaches.