Mechanisms of inhibition within the telencephalon: "where the wild things are"

Annu Rev Neurosci. 2011:34:535-67. doi: 10.1146/annurev-neuro-061010-113717.


In this review, we first provide a historical perspective of inhibitory signaling from the discovery of inhibition through to our present understanding of the diversity and mechanisms by which GABAergic interneuron populations function in different parts of the telencephalon. This is followed by a summary of the mechanisms of inhibition in the CNS. With this as a starting point, we provide an overview describing the variations in the subtypes and origins of inhibitory interneurons within the pallial and subpallial divisions of the telencephalon, with a focus on the hippocampus, somatosensory, paleo/piriform cortex, striatum, and various amygdala nuclei. Strikingly, we observe that marked variations exist in the origin and numerical balance between GABAergic interneurons and the principal cell populations in distinct regions of the telencephalon. Finally we speculate regarding the attractiveness and challenges of establishing a unifying nomenclature to describe inhibitory neuron diversity throughout the telencephalon.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Interneurons / physiology*
  • Models, Neurological
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology*
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / metabolism
  • Telencephalon / cytology*
  • Telencephalon / physiology*
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism


  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid