Neuroscientists identify class of cortical inhibitory neurons that specialize in disinhibition

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Posted October 7, 2013

New research now reveals that one class of inhibitory neurons—called VIP interneurons—specializes in inhibiting other inhibitory neurons in multiple regions of cortex, and does so under specific behavioral conditions. The new research finds that VIP interneurons, when activated, release principal cells from inhibition, thus boosting their responses. This provides an additional layer of control over cortical processing, much like a dimmer switch can fine-tune light levels.

The cerebral cortex contains two major types of neurons: principal neurons that are excitatory and interneurons that are inhibitory, all interconnected within the same network. New research now reveals that one class of inhibitory neurons – called VIP interneurons—specializes in inhibiting other inhibitory neurons in multiple regions of cortex, and does so under specific behavioral conditions.

The new research finds that VIP interneurons, when activated, release principal cells from inhibition, thus boosting their responses. This provides an additional layer of control over cortical processing, much like a dimmer switch can fine-tune light levels.

The discovery was made by a team of neuroscientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) led by Associate Professor Adam Kepecs, Ph.D. Their research, published online today in Nature, shows that neurons expressing vasoactive intestinal polypeptide, or VIP, provide disinhibition in the auditory cortex and the medial prefrontal cortex.

Read more at: MedicalXpress



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