The transcriptional coactivator peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ coactivator 1α (PGC-1α) is a master regulator of metabolism in peripheral tissues, and it has been proposed that PGC-1α plays a similar role in the brain. Recent evidence suggests that PGC-1α is concentrated in GABAergic interneurons, so we investigated whether male and female PGC-1α -/- mice exhibit abnormalities in interneuron gene expression and/or function. We found a striking reduction in the expression of the Ca2+-binding protein parvalbumin (PV), but not other GABAergic markers, throughout the cerebrum in PGC-1α +/- and -/- mice. Furthermore, PGC-1α overexpression in cell culture was sufficient to robustly induce PV expression. Consistent with a reduction in PV rather than a loss of PV-expressing interneurons, spontaneous synaptic inhibition was not altered in PGC-1α -/-mice. However, evoked synaptic responses displayed less paired-pulse depression and dramatic facilitation in response to repetitive stimulation at the gamma frequency. PV transcript expression was also significantly reduced in retina and heart of PGC-1α -/- animals, suggesting that PGC-1α is required for proper expression of PV in multiple tissues. Together these findings indicate that PGC-1α is a novel regulator of interneuron gene expression and function and a potential therapeutic target for neurological disorders associated with interneuron dysfunction. Copyright©2010 the authors.