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Trends Neurosci. 2004 Feb;27(2):90-7.

Interneuron Diversity series: Molecular and genetic tools to study GABAergic interneuron diversity and function.

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  • 1IZN, Department of Clinical Neurobiology, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.


Structural and functional diversity of GABAergic interneurons has become increasingly central in our understanding of the elemental steps of information processing in the brain. The use of different molecular, electrophysiological and anatomical techniques has provided a wealth of new information regarding GABAergic interneurons over the past decade but it has also led to confusion regarding the number of subtypes of GABAergic interneurons. Combinatorial approaches that also consider multiple parameters seem now to offer renewed hope for finally clarifying the structural diversity of GABAergic interneurons. New molecular techniques have become a powerful tool for exposing the functional diversity of GABAergic neurons at the cellular, microcircuit and systems levels. This article reviews literature regarding molecular tools that have been used, or that appear promising for future attempts, to classify GABAergic interneurons. Some important limitations will also be indicated.

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