Interneuron Diversity series: Circuit complexity and axon wiring economy of cortical interneurons

Trends Neurosci. 2004 Apr;27(4):186-93. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2004.02.007.


The performance of the brain is constrained by wiring length and maintenance costs. The apparently inverse relationship between number of neurons in the various interneuron classes and the spatial extent of their axon trees suggests a mathematically definable organization, reminiscent of 'small-world' or scale-free networks observed in other complex systems. The wiring-economy-based classification of cortical inhibitory interneurons is supported by the distinct physiological patterns of class members in the intact brain. The complex wiring of diverse interneuron classes could represent an economic solution for supporting global synchrony and oscillations at multiple timescales with minimum axon length.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology
  • Cell Communication / physiology
  • Cerebral Cortex / cytology
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Interneurons / classification*
  • Interneurons / physiology*
  • Models, Neurological
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neural Pathways / physiology*