Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Physiological rhythmic activity in cortical circuits relies on GABAergic inhibition to balance excitation and control spike timing. With a focus on recent experimental progress in the hippocampus, here we review the mechanisms by which synaptic inhibition can control the precise timing of spike generation, by way of effects of GABAergic events on membrane conductance ('shunting' inhibition) and membrane potential ('hyperpolarizing' inhibition). Synaptic inhibition itself can be synchronized by way of interactions within networks of GABAergic neurons, and by excitatory neurons. The importance of GABAergic mechanisms for generation of cortical rhythms is now well established. What remains to be resolved is how such inhibitory control of spike timing can be harnessed for long-range fast synchronization, and the relevance of these mechanisms to network function. This review is part of the INMED/TINS special issue Physiogenic and pathogenic oscillations: the beauty and the beast, based on presentations at the annual INMED/TINS symposium (

Original publication




Journal article


Trends Neurosci

Publication Date





343 - 349


Animals, Cortical Synchronization, Hippocampus, Interneurons, Nerve Net, Neural Inhibition, Periodicity, gamma-Aminobutyric Acid