Identified Sources and Targets of Slow Inhibition in the Neocortex

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Science  21 Mar 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5614, pp. 1902-1905
DOI: 10.1126/science.1082053

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There are two types of inhibitory postsynaptic potentials in the cerebral cortex. Fast inhibition is mediated by ionotropic γ-aminobutyric acid type A (GABAA) receptors, and slow inhibition is due to metabotropic GABAB receptors. Several neuron classes elicit inhibitory postsynaptic potentials through GABAA receptors, but possible distinct sources of slow inhibition remain unknown. We identified a class of GABAergic interneurons, the neurogliaform cells, that, in contrast to other GABA-releasing cells, elicited combined GABAA and GABAB receptor–mediated responses with single action potentials and that predominantly targeted the dendritic spines of pyramidal neurons. Slow inhibition evoked by a distinct interneuron in spatially restricted postsynaptic compartments could locally and selectively modulate cortical excitability.

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