Somatostatin-expressing neurons in cortical networks

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2016 Jul;17(7):401-9. doi: 10.1038/nrn.2016.53. Epub 2016 May 26.


Somatostatin-expressing GABAergic neurons constitute a major class of inhibitory neurons in the mammalian cortex and are characterized by dense wiring into the local network and high basal firing activity that persists in the absence of synaptic input. This firing provides both GABA type A receptor (GABAAR)- and GABABR-mediated inhibition that operates at fast and slow timescales. The activity of somatostatin-expressing neurons is regulated by brain state, during learning and in rewarded behaviour. Here, we review recent advances in our understanding of how this class of cells can control network activity, with specific reference to how this is constrained by their anatomical and electrophysiological properties.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology*
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Receptors, GABA-A / metabolism
  • Somatostatin / metabolism*
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism*


  • Receptors, GABA-A
  • Somatostatin
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid