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Development and specification of GABAergic cortical interneurons

Corey Kelsom and Wange Lu*

Author Affiliations

Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Southern California, 1425 San Pablo Street, Los Angeles, CA 90033, USA

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Cell & Bioscience 2013, 3:19  doi:10.1186/2045-3701-3-19

Published: 23 April 2013


GABAergic interneurons are inhibitory neurons of the nervous system that play a vital role in neural circuitry and activity. They are so named due to their release of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and occupy different areas of the brain. This review will focus primarily on GABAergic interneurons of the mammalian cerebral cortex from a developmental standpoint. There is a diverse amount of cortical interneuronal subtypes that may be categorized by a number of characteristics; this review will classify them largely by the protein markers they express. The developmental origins of GABAergic interneurons will be discussed, as well as factors that influence the complex migration routes that these interneurons must take in order to ultimately localize in the cerebral cortex where they will integrate with the neural circuitry set in place. This review will also place an emphasis on the transcriptional network of genes that play a role in the specification and maintenance of GABAergic interneuron fate. Gaining an understanding of the different aspects of cortical interneuron development and specification, especially in humans, has many useful clinical applications that may serve to treat various neurological disorders linked to alterations in interneuron populations.

GABA; Interneuron; Cortex; Specification; Transcriptional network