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At the earliest developmental stages, spontaneous activity synchronizes local and large-scale cortical networks. These networks form the functional template for the establishment of global thalamocortical networks and cortical architecture. The earliest connections are established autonomously. However, activity from the sensory periphery reshapes these circuits as soon as afferents reach the cortex. The early-generated, largely transient neurons of the subplate play a key role in integrating spontaneous and sensory-driven activity. Early pathological conditions-such as hypoxia, inflammation, or exposure to pharmacological compounds-alter spontaneous activity patterns, which subsequently induce disturbances in cortical network activity. This cortical dysfunction may lead to local and global miswiring and, at later stages, can be associated with neurological and psychiatric conditions.

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Animals, Apoptosis, Cerebral Cortex, Claustrum, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Mice, Neural Pathways, Neurogenesis, Neuronal Plasticity, Schizophrenia, Thalamic Nuclei