Jan 20, 2024

Revealing the hidden precision of inhibitory circuits

Posted by in categories: computing, neuroscience

A new study by Petr Znamenskiy, Tom Mrsic-Flogel, and colleagues present findings that overturn a decade-long idea that inhibitory neurons provide blanket normalising inhibition, showing that for PV+ inhibitory neurons this is not the case.

By April Cashin-Garbutt

Just like computers are characterised by their hardware, neural circuits in the brain are defined by their wiring. The synaptic organisation determines the function of neural circuits. While the connections of excitatory and inhibitory neurons were previously characterised, a new study has revealed the hidden precision of the synaptic strength of inhibitory circuits in the neocortex.

“People often think of excitatory neurons as doing the bulk of the interesting computations in the brain, whereas inhibitory neurons are thought to coordinate the activity of excitatory cells. We know from previous research that the connectivity of excitatory cells is very specific, whereas inhibitory neurons were thought to have very broad and non-specific connections,” explained Petr Znamenskiy, Group Leader at the Francis Crick Institute and former postdoctoral researcher in the Mrsic-Flogel Lab at the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre.

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