Critical periods are developmental time windows in which functional properties of the brain are particularly susceptible to the organism’s experience. It was thought that therapeutic strategies for neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs) required early life intervention for successful treatment, but previous studies in a mouse model of Rett syndrome indicated that this may not be the case, as some genetic disorders result from disruptions of neuromaintenance. In this issue of the JCI, Terzic et al. provide evidence that defective neuromaintenance also underlies CDKL5 deficiency disorder (CDD). The authors used genetic mouse models to examine the role of CDKL5 protein. Notably, when CDKL5 protein was restored in late adolescent Cdkl5-deficient animals, CDD behavioral defects were reversed. These results suggest that genetically or pharmacologically restoring CDKL5 may treat CDD after symptom onset.
Peter C. Kind, Adrian Bird