The Xenopus tadpole model offers many advantages for studying molecular, cellular and network mechanisms underlying neurodevelopmental disorders. Essentially every stage of normal neural circuit development, from axon outgrowth and guidance to activity-dependent homeostasis and refinement, has been studied in the frog tadpole, making it an ideal model to determine what happens when any of these stages are compromised. Recently, the tadpole model has been used to explore the mechanisms of epilepsy and autism, and there is mounting evidence to suggest that diseases of the nervous system involve deficits in the most fundamental aspects of nervous system function and development. In this Review, we provide an update on how tadpole models are being used to study three distinct types of neurodevelopmental disorders: diseases caused by exposure to environmental toxicants, epilepsy and seizure disorders, and autism.
- Received February 13, 2013.
- Accepted June 18, 2013.
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