An Exciting Inhibitory Neuron

Science's STKE  17 Jan 2006:
Vol. 2006, Issue 318, pp. tw484
DOI: 10.1126/stke.3182006tw484

Discovered 30 years ago, axo-axonic or Chandelier cells are the most specific inhibitory neurotransmitter γ-aminobutyric acid-releasing (GABAergic) cell type known and are regularly used in textbooks to illustrate the strategic placement of inhibition on the axon. Szabadics et al. show that instead of inhibiting postsynaptic cells, axo-axonic cells can actually excite postsynaptic cells, which leads to an unprecedented phenomenon in the cortex: a single GABAergic cell that can reliably activate the cortical network.

J. Szabadics, C. Varga, G. Molnár, S. Oláh, P. Barzó, G. Tamás, Excitatory effect of GABAergic axo-axonic cells in cortical microcircuits. Science 311, 233-235 (2006). [Abstract] [Full Text]