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Encyclopedia > Interneurons

An interneuron is a neuron that communicates only to other neurons. One example of interneurons are inhibitory interneurons in the neocortex which selectively inhibit sections of the thalamus based on synaptic input both from other parts of the neocortex and from the thalamus itself. This is theorized to help focus higher attention on relevant sensory input and help block out irrelevant or boring input, such as the sensation of the backs of your thighs on a chair.

Contrast to sensory neurons or motor neurons, which respectively provide input from and output to the rest of the body.

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Background (1286 words)
Since each interneuron is connected to many PCs and other interneurons, all of these postsynaptic cells will be inhibited simultaneously, and if the ongoing excitation in each cell is similar, they all will tend to fire at the same time when they recover from the inhibition.
If the interneuron is firing repetitively, for example because it and all of its neighbors in the network are generating their own theta rhythm, then the postsynaptic cells will be silenced repetitively, i.e.
The interneurons generate a timing signal, and the pyramidal cells generate their output at a fixed time relative to the ongoing oscillation.
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