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Interneurons, which release the neurotransmitter γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), are the major inhibitory cells of the central nervous system (CNS). Despite comprising only 20-30% of the cerebral cortical neuronal population, these cells play an essential and powerful role in modulating the electrical activity of the excitatory pyramidal cells onto which they synapse. Although interneurons are present in all regions of the mature telencephalon, during embryogenesis these cells are generated in specific compartments of the ventral (subpallial) telencephalon known as ganglionic eminences. To reach their final destinations in the mature brain, immature interneurons migrate from the ganglionic eminences to developing telencephalic structures that are both near and far from their site of origin. The specification and migration of these cells is a complex but precisely orchestrated process that is regulated by a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic signals. The final outcome of which is the wiring together of excitatory and inhibitory neurons that were born in separate regions of the developing telencephalon. Disruption of any aspect of this sequence of events during development, either from an environmental insult or due to genetic mutations, can have devastating consequences on normal brain function.

Original publication

DOI

10.1002/dneu.20890

Type

Journal article

Journal

Dev Neurobiol

Publication Date

08/2011

Volume

71

Pages

710 - 732

Keywords

Animals, Cell Movement, Interneurons, Neurogenesis, Telencephalon, gamma-Aminobutyric Acid