Synaptic plasticity is the cellular and molecular counterpart of learning and memory and, since its first discovery, the analysis of the mechanisms underlying long-term changes of synaptic strength has been almost exclusively focused on excitatory connections. Conversely, inhibition was considered as a fixed controller of circuit excitability. Only recently, inhibitory networks were shown to be finely regulated by a wide number of mechanisms residing in their synaptic connections. Here, we review recent findings on the forms of inhibitory plasticity (IP) that have been discovered and characterized in different brain areas. In particular, we focus our attention on the molecular pathways involved in the induction and expression mechanisms leading to changes in synaptic efficacy, and we discuss, from the computational perspective, how IP can contribute to the emergence of functional properties of brain circuits.
Keywords: GABA; LTD; LTP; computational neuroscience; inhibition; synaptic plasticity.