Inhibitory Interneurons of The Neo-Cortex & The Role of Parvalbumin-Expressing Cells in Schizophrenia

JULS Volume 10, Issue 1

Tasneem Khan1, Blake Richards2

1 Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
2 Department of Biological Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

Corresponding Author: Tasneem Khan (taz.khan@mail.utoronto.ca)

Abstract

The cerebral cortex is involved in higher order processes such as thinking, planning, problem solving, executive functions, and organizing information. These processes involve sending feedback to other brain regions through signals that require synchrony. Such synchrony is controlled by oscillations in brain activity. Evidence suggests that inhibition is a key factor in maintaining synchrony and oscillations. There are many classes of inhibitory neurons involved in generating synchrony; however each class can have complex variations. Therefore, a vast literature is dedicated to understanding the molecular, physiological and functional characteristics of these neurons, often referred to as inhibitory interneurons. Furthermore, not only are inhibitory interneurons complex in categorical distribution, but they can interact with other neurons in various ways to allow for proper signaling. This paper provides an overview of the literature present on the major types of inhibitory interneurons in the cerebral cortex and their importance in signalling processes. Furthermore, there is emerging evidence that deficits in cortical interneurons could be the underlying cause of symptoms in neuropsychiatric diseases such as autism, epilepsy and schizophrenia. The second purpose of this paper is to highlight the physiology and the role of disarrayed signalling processes of the parvalbumin interneurons in schizophrenia.