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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 892784, 11 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/892784
Review Article

GABA through the Ages: Regulation of Cortical Function and Plasticity by Inhibitory Interneurons

Institut für Allgemeine Zoologie und Tierphysiologie, Universität Jena, 07743 Jena, Germany

Received 13 January 2012; Revised 30 March 2012; Accepted 30 March 2012

Academic Editor: Maurice Ptito

Copyright © 2012 Konrad Lehmann et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Inhibitory interneurons comprise only about 20% of cortical neurons and thus constitute a clear minority compared to the vast number of excitatory projection neurons. They are, however, an influential minority with important roles in cortical maturation, function, and plasticity. In this paper, we will highlight the functional importance of cortical inhibition throughout brain development, starting with the embryonal formation of the cortex, proceeding by the regulation of sensory cortical plasticity in adulthood, and finishing with the GABA involvement in sensory information processing in old age.