Turning the heterogeneous into homogeneous: studies on selectively isolated GABAergic interneuron subsets

Int J Dev Neurosci. 2004 Nov;22(7):533-43. doi: 10.1016/j.ijdevneu.2004.07.012.


The amazing morphological and electrophysiological diversity of cortical GABAergic interneurons subserves the broad diversity of processes these cells modulate in neuronal networks. Until recently, interneuron development and functions have been extensively studied in heterogeneous in vitro and in vivo systems containing both excitatory and inhibitory components. However, mechanisms of interneuron specification during development, key signaling mechanisms controlling the establishment of particular inhibitory neuron subsets, and the spatial and temporal regulation of their integration in neuronal microcircuits remain poorly understood. Selective isolation of particular interneuron subsets may significantly extend our knowledge on the scenario of neurochemical and electrophysiological specification of developing interneurons, identification of signaling cues directing their axon growth, and principles of their anterograde and retrograde synaptic communication with other cell types. Here, we show that selective isolation of perisomatic inhibitory cells containing either parvalbumin or cholecystokinin reveals major differences in the temporal dynamics of their functional differentiation, and their dependence on target-derived signals like brain-derived neurotrophic factor and endocannabinoids. In addition, we discuss therapeutic prospects of modulating increased excitatory output in the hippocampus and subthalamic nucleus by re-adjusting the inhibitory control of principal cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Brain / embryology
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain / pathology
  • Humans
  • Huntington Disease / embryology
  • Huntington Disease / metabolism*
  • Huntington Disease / pathology
  • Interneurons / metabolism*
  • Interneurons / pathology
  • Nerve Net / metabolism*
  • Nerve Net / pathology
  • Neuronal Plasticity
  • Parkinson Disease / embryology
  • Parkinson Disease / metabolism*
  • Parkinson Disease / pathology
  • Receptors, GABA / metabolism*
  • Synaptic Transmission
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism*


  • Biomarkers
  • Receptors, GABA
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid