Interneuronal GABAA receptors inside and outside of synapses

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2014 Jun;26:57-63. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2013.12.001. Epub 2013 Dec 29.


About 20% of the total number of neurons in the brain are interneurons (INs) that utilize GABA as their neurotransmitter. The receptors for GABA have been well studied in principal cells, but INs also express GABA receptors, in particular the GABAA type (GABAARs), which may also be activated in an autocrine manner by the transmitter released by the INs themselves. As more and more neurological and psychiatric disorders are being discovered to be linked to malfunction or deficits of INs, this review will cover how INs communicate with each other through the activation of synaptic and extrasynaptic GABAARs. The properties of GABAARs specific to INs may differ significantly from those found on principal cells to open the prospect of developing IN-specific drugs.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cholecystokinin / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Interneurons / classification*
  • Interneurons / metabolism*
  • Nerve Net / metabolism
  • Neuroglia / metabolism
  • Receptors, GABA-A / metabolism*
  • Somatostatin / metabolism
  • Synapses / metabolism*
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*


  • Receptors, GABA-A
  • Somatostatin
  • Cholecystokinin