© 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved. Recent research into local-circuit GABAergic inhibitory interneurons of the mammalian central nervous system has provided unprecedented insight into the mechanics of neuronal circuitry and its dysfunction. Inhibitory interneurons consist of a broad array of anatomically and neurochemically diverse cell types, and this suggests that each occupies an equally diverse functional role. Although neurogliaform cells were observed by Cajal over a century ago, our understanding of the functional role of this class of interneurons is in its infancy. However, it is rapidly becoming clear that this cell type operates under a distinct repertoire of rules to provide novel forms of inhibitory control of numerous afferent pathways.