Automatic inhibitory function in the human somatosensory and motor cortices: An MEG-MRS study

Chia Hsiung Cheng*, Shang Yueh Tsai, Chia Yih Liu, David M. Niddam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

28 Scopus citations


While the automatic inhibitory function of the human cerebral cortex has been extensively investigated by means of electrophysiological recordings, the corresponding modulating neurochemical mechanisms remain unclear. We aimed to examine whether the primary somatosensory (SI) and primary motor cortical (MI) inhibitory function is associated with endogenous GABA levels. Eighteen young participants received paired-pulse and single-pulse electrical stimulation to the median nerve during magnetoencephalographic recordings. The SI sensory gating (SG), considered as an automatic inhibitory ability, was measured as the amplitude ratio of Stimulus 2 over Stimulus 1, in the paired-pulse paradigm. In addition, stimulus-induced beta activity, considered to originate from MI and also to be related to inhibitory function, was estimated using the single-pulse paradigm. The GABA+ concentration of the sensorimotor cortex was acquired from each subject by using magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). A lower SG ratio in SI was significantly associated with an increased beta power in MI. More importantly, the beta rebound power, but not SI SG ratio, was positively correlated with GABA+ concentration. Our findings show a tight functional relationship between SI and MI during processing of automatic inhibition. GABA+ levels appear to be more closely related to the automatic inhibitory function of MI than SI.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4234
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 01 12 2017

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© 2017 The Author(s).


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