The neuronal identity bias behind neocortical GABAergic plasticity

Trends Neurosci. 2015 Sep;38(9):524-34. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2015.07.008. Epub 2015 Aug 25.


In the neocortex, different types of excitatory and inhibitory neurons connect to one another following a detailed blueprint, defining functionally-distinct subnetworks, whose activity and modulation underlie complex cognitive functions. We review the cell-autonomous plasticity of perisomatic inhibition onto principal excitatory neurons. We propose that the tendency of different cortical layers to exhibit depression or potentiation of perisomatic inhibition is dictated by the specific identities of principal neurons (PNs). These are mainly defined by their projection targets and by their preference to be innervated by specific perisomatic-targeting basket cell types. Therefore, principal neurons responsible for relaying information to subcortical nuclei are differentially inhibited and show specific forms of plasticity compared to other PNs that are specialized in more associative functions.

Keywords: GABAergic plasticity; inhibition; neocortex; retrograde signaling.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Neocortex / physiology*
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism*


  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid