Inhibitory Plasticity: Balance, Control, and Codependence

Annu Rev Neurosci. 2017 Jul 25:40:557-579. doi: 10.1146/annurev-neuro-072116-031005. Epub 2017 Jun 9.


Inhibitory neurons, although relatively few in number, exert powerful control over brain circuits. They stabilize network activity in the face of strong feedback excitation and actively engage in computations. Recent studies reveal the importance of a precise balance of excitation and inhibition in neural circuits, which often requires exquisite fine-tuning of inhibitory connections. We review inhibitory synaptic plasticity and its roles in shaping both feedforward and feedback control. We discuss the necessity of complex, codependent plasticity mechanisms to build nontrivial, functioning networks, and we end by summarizing experimental evidence of such interactions.

Keywords: GABA; feedback control; inhibition; modeling; network dynamics; synaptic plasticity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Feedback, Physiological / physiology
  • Inhibitory Postsynaptic Potentials / physiology*
  • Memory / physiology
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Synapses / physiology