The cerebral cortical microcircuit is composed of pyramidal and non-pyramidal cells and subcortical and cortico-cortical afferents. These constitute a complex wiring structure that remains poorly understood. At least ten non-pyramidal cell subtypes are known. These innervate different target neuronal domains, and have a key role in regulating cortical neuronal activity. Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the cerebral cortex, and most cortical inhibitory synapses originate from non-pyramidal cells. Therefore, investigating the morphological and functional wiring properties of GABAergic non-pyramidal cells is critical to understanding the functional architecture of the cortical microcircuitry. This review focuses on current understanding of the different roles of inhibitory GABAergic non-pyramidal cell subtypes in cortical functions.
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