Research Topic

Inhibitory regulation of neocortical circuits

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Neural circuits in the cortex and hippocampus are comprised of interconnected sets of glutamatergic excitatory neurons and GABAergic inhibitory interneurons. Within these two broad classes, cells can be distinguished as belonging to a number of distinct subpopulations. This is especially true of inhibitory ...

Neural circuits in the cortex and hippocampus are comprised of interconnected sets of glutamatergic excitatory neurons and GABAergic inhibitory interneurons. Within these two broad classes, cells can be distinguished as belonging to a number of distinct subpopulations. This is especially true of inhibitory interneurons, which can be divided into multiple categories based on molecular expression profiles, morphology, synaptic connectivity, and intrinsic firing properties. This diversity of neuronal types supports a complex series of cellular interactions and may provide a significant degree of functional flexibility to the local circuit.
Because subpopulations of interneurons exhibit different characteristics and are differentially engaged by synaptic inputs, it is likely that they play distinct roles in regulating the activity of excitatory neurons. However, in many cases the contributions of different populations of interneurons to the ongoing pattern of neocortical activity remain unclear. In particular, under the active conditions observed in vivo, it is challenging to determine the roles of specific classes of neurons in generating structured patterns of network activity such as oscillations. New cellular and optical tools for use in vitro and in vivo have made the examination of inhibitory regulation of local circuits more tractable, allowing precisely targeted identification and manipulation of some interneuron classes for the first time. Considerable recent interest in the field has focused on identifying the functional roles of different sources of inhibition, particularly dendrite- and soma-targeting interneurons. However, a detailed picture of the origins, architecture, and impact of each type of inhibitory-excitatory network interaction has yet to fully emerge.
This Research Topic will feature articles and reviews exploring the architecture of local neocortical circuits from the perspectives of functional interactions, cellular characterization, development, and computational models, with an emphasis on integration between these levels of analysis. The goal is to assemble a series of papers that collectively focus the following topics:

1. Postsynaptic impact of GABAergic synaptic transmission onto excitatory neurons
2. Inhibitory regulation of sensory processing and other network operations
3. Developmental regulation of the excitatory-inhibitory architecture of the local circuit
4. Short- and long-term plasticity of inhibitory interactions


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