Disinhibition, an emerging pharmacology of learning and memory

Hanns Möhler, Uwe Rudolph

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Learning and memory are dependent on interactive excitatory and inhibitory mechanisms. In this review, we discuss a mechanism called disinhibition, which is the release of an inhibitory constraint that effectively results in an increased activity in the target neurons (for example, principal or projection neurons). We focus on discussing the role of disinhibition in learning and memory at a basic level and in disease models with cognitive deficits and highlight a strategy to reverse cognitive deficits caused by excess inhibition, through disinhibition of α5-containing GABA A receptors mediating tonic inhibition in the hippocampus, based on subtype-selective negative allosteric modulators as a novel class of drugs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Allosteric modulators
  • Disinhibition
  • Pavlovian learning
  • Somatostatin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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