Molecular regulation of cognitive functions and developmental plasticity: impact of GABAA receptors


  • Hanns Möhler

    1. Institute of Pharmacology, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
    2. Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
    3. Collegium Helveticum, Zurich, Switzerland
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Address correspondence and reprint requests to Hanns Möhler, Institute of Pharmacology, University of Zurich, Winterthurerstr. 190, CH-8057 Zurich, Switzerland. E-mail:


By controlling spike timing and sculpting neuronal rhythms, inhibitory interneurons play a key role in regulating neuronal circuits and behavior. The pronounced diversity of GABAergic (γ-aminobutyric acid) interneurons is paralleled by an extensive diversity of GABAA receptor subtypes. The region- and domain-specific location of these receptor subtypes offers the opportunity to gain functional insights into the role of defined neuronal circuits. These developments are reviewed with regard to the regulation of sleep, anxiety, memory, sensorimotor processing and post-natal developmental plasticity.