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Fast synaptic inhibition in the brain is mediated by the pre-synaptic release of the neurotransmitter γ-Aminobutyric acid (GABA)and the post-synaptic activation of GABA-sensitive ionotropic receptors. As with excitatory synapses, it is being increasinly appreciated that a variety of plastic processes occur at inhibitory synapses, which operate over a range of timescales. Here we examine a form of activity-dependent plasticity that is somewhat unique to GABAergic transmission. This involves short-lasting changes to the ionic driving force for the post-synaptic receptors, a process referred to as short-term ionic plasticity. These changes are directly related to the history of activity at inhibitory synapses and are influenced by a variety of factors including the location of the synapse and the post-synaptic cell's ion regulation mechanisms. We explore the processes underlying this form of plasticity, when and where it can occur, and how it is likely to impact network activity.

Original publication




Journal article


Front Synaptic Neurosci

Publication Date





EGABA, GABA, GABAA receptors, chloride, pH, reversal potential, short-term ionic plasticity, synaptic transmission