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GABA Levels in Left and Right Sensorimotor Cortex Correlate across Individuals

Russell H. Morgan Department of Radiology and Radiological Science, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 600 N Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA
F.M. Kirby Center for Functional Brain Imaging, Kennedy Krieger Institute, 707 N Broadway Street, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
Department of Neurology, BG University Hospital Bergmannsheil, Bürkle de la Camp-Platz 1, 44789 Bochum, Germany
Department of Radiology, University of Calgary, 1403-29th Street N.W., Calgary, AB T2N 2T9, Canada
Child and Adolescent Imaging Research Program, Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, University of Calgary, 2888 Shaganappi Trail, Calgary, AB T3B 6A8, Canada
Hotchkiss Brain Institute, 3330 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary, AB T2N 4N1, Canada
CUBRIC, School of Psychology, Cardiff University, Cardiff CF24 4HQ, Wales, UK
School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff CF10 3AT, Wales, UK
Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Medical Psychology, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Universitätsstr. 1, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany
St. Mauritius Therapieklinik, 40670 Meerbusch, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Biomedicines 2018, 6(3), 80;
Received: 6 June 2018 / Revised: 27 June 2018 / Accepted: 17 July 2018 / Published: 24 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neural Mechanisms of Learning)
PDF [673 KB, uploaded 24 July 2018]


Differences in γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels measured with Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy have been shown to correlate with behavioral performance over a number of tasks and cortical regions. These correlations appear to be regionally and functionally specific. In this study, we test the hypothesis that GABA levels will be correlated within individuals for functionally related regions—the left and right sensorimotor cortex. In addition, we investigate whether this is driven by bulk tissue composition. GABA measurements using edited MRS data were acquired from the left and right sensorimotor cortex in 24 participants. T1-weighted MR images were also acquired and segmented to determine the tissue composition of the voxel. GABA level is shown to correlate significantly between the left and right regions (r = 0.64, p < 0.03). Tissue composition is highly correlated between sides, but does not explain significant variance in the bilateral correlation. In conclusion, individual differences in GABA level, which have previously been described as functionally and regionally specific, are correlated between homologous sensorimotor regions. This correlation is not driven by bulk differences in voxel tissue composition. View Full-Text
Keywords: GABA; MRS; sensorimotor; individual differences; bilateral inhibition GABA; MRS; sensorimotor; individual differences; bilateral inhibition

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Puts, N.A.J.; Heba, S.; Harris, A.D.; Evans, C.J.; McGonigle, D.J.; Tegenthoff, M.; Schmidt-Wilcke, T.; Edden, R.A.E. GABA Levels in Left and Right Sensorimotor Cortex Correlate across Individuals. Biomedicines 2018, 6, 80.

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