What you should know!
The brain has a lot of diversity, in the terms of the type of cells that exist within it. It contain neurons that act as the main communication line. These neurons talked to each other using chemical and electrical signals. Amongst neurons, there are different cell types. The largest classification divides neurons into those that are excitatory and inhibitory
Meet Glutamate (Excitatory Signals)
& GABA (Inhibitory Signals).
They communicate via electrical signals as well as chemical signals and are the neurotransmitters that determine excitation or inhibition. These inhibitory neurons have sub classifications.
The Disinhibition (imbalance)
Some inhibitory neurons only synapse (connect) onto other inhibitory neurons, which creates an interesting phenomenon called “disinhibition” whereby inhibitory neurons inhibit other inhibitory neurons, which then excites excitatory neurons because of a decrease in inhibition.
Excitatory neurons fire, but must be dampened by inhibitory neurons, which are, in turn, regulated by other excitatory and inhibitory neurons.
What will happen if there is an imbalance?
Too much activity and you can have malfunction like a seizure. Too little, or imbalanced E/I, and you can have things like depression, schizophrenia, autism*
*There are no hard and fast rules about what “too much excitation” or “too much inhibition” does in the brain, because it depends on where in the brain the problem lies.
Field Researcher: Aaron Clinton Katzman, Ph.D candidate Neural Science, Center for Neural Science, NYU
Field Supervisor: Cristina M Alberni, Ph.D LP Neural Science, Professor of Neural Science, NYU