The Role of Interneurons in Cognitive Impairment in Schizophrenia

  • Ane Murueta-Goyena Larrañaga
  • José Vicente Lafuente Sánchez
  • Harkaitz Bengoetxea Odriozola


Several findings indicate that schizophrenia is associated with multiple abnormalities in different subtypes of interneurons, which result in a loss of inhibitory control of pyramidal cell activity. Perturbed excitatory/inhibitory balance or maladaptive disinhibition leads to cognitive impairment, a core disturbance of schizophrenia. Interneurons are crucial for governing the complex interactions between principal cells to coordinate spatiotemporal firing patterns of excitatory action potentials, thereby regulating network operations, controlling plastic periods, and generating brain oscillations. Increasing body of evidence suggests that these inhibitory cells are essential for normal perceptual processing and cognitive behavior. Although the precise contribution of interneurons to learning and memory needs to be elucidated, evidence support the notion that interneurons might be engaged in different stages of acquisition and storage of information. In this chapter, we review the current state of knowledge regarding the role of interneurons at microcircuit and network levels to shed new light on their contribution to neuronal computations for perceptual processing and their influence on high-order cognitive functions. We discuss how the functional alteration of inhibitory neurons might be responsible for the cognitive impairment in schizophrenia, suggesting that interneurons could be interesting candidates for therapeutic interventions to improve core cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia.


GABAergic cells Learning and memory Inhibition 



This work has been partially supported by the Basque Government (GIC 901/16) and by the University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU (UFI 11/32, PPG17/51 and EHU 14/33).


The authors have no proprietary or commercial interest in any devices or drugs that are involved in this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ane Murueta-Goyena Larrañaga
    • 1
  • José Vicente Lafuente Sánchez
    • 1
  • Harkaitz Bengoetxea Odriozola
    • 1
  1. 1.LaNCE Laboratory of Clinical and Experimental Neuroscience, Department of Neuroscience, Faculty of Medicine and NurseryUniversity of the Basque Country UPV/EHULeioaSpain

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