Specification of GABAergic Neocortical Interneurons



Inhibitory GABAergic interneurons within the cerebral cortex are critical for fine-tuning the activity of cortical circuits and thus are thought to be involved in generating the distinct oscillatory patterns that underlie higher brain functions such as consciousness and memory. Understanding how cortical interneurons are specified during development is important not just from the standpoint of basic research but also is likely to provide key insights into how cognitive disorders emerge. Although interneurons only consist of around 20 % of the neurons within the neocortex, they are extremely diverse with regard to their morphologies, molecular expression profiles, intrinsic electrophysiological properties, and synaptic connections. In rodents, most neocortical interneurons originate during embryogenesis from ventrally located structures, primarily the ganglionic eminences, and therefore must migrate over long distances following discrete pathways to reach the appropriate cortical areas. Thus, proper coordination of the distinct migration programs followed by pyramidal cells and interneuron precursors during development is crucial for the assembly of functional microcircuits within the cerebral cortex. Here, we review and discuss emerging views of how cortical GABAergic interneuron specification, migration, and integration occur from embryonic to early postnatal stages.


Pyramidal Neuron GABAergic Interneuron Cortical Interneuron Ventral Telencephalon Early Postnatal Stage 



We are very grateful to Dr. Oscar Marín for critically reading this manuscript. In addition, we thank all past and present Fishell lab members for their collaborative effort in addressing the many unresolved questions regarding the specification and development of neocortical interneurons.


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Copyright information

© Springer Japan 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Goichi Miyoshi
    • 1
  • Robert P. Machold
    • 1
  • Gord Fishell
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Neuroscience and Physiology, NYU Neuroscience Institute, Smilow Research CenterNew York University School of MedicineNew YorkUSA

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