Decreased auditory GABA+ concentrations in presbycusis demonstrated by edited magnetic resonance spectroscopy

Fei Gao, Guangbin Wang, Wen Ma, Fuxin Ren, Muwei Li, Yuling Dong, Cheng Liu, Bo Liu, Xue Bai, Bin Zhao, Richard A.E. Edden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central auditory system. Altered GABAergic neurotransmission has been found in both the inferior colliculus and the auditory cortex in animal models of presbycusis. Edited magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), using the MEGA-PRESS sequence, is the most widely used technique for detecting GABA in the human brain. However, to date there has been a paucity of studies exploring changes to the GABA concentrations in the auditory region of patients with presbycusis. In this study, sixteen patients with presbycusis (5 males/11 females, mean age 63.1±2.6years) and twenty healthy controls (6 males/14 females, mean age 62.5±2.3years) underwent audiological and MRS examinations. Pure tone audiometry from 0.125 to 8kHz and tympanometry were used to assess the hearing abilities of all subjects. The pure tone average (PTA; the average of hearing thresholds at 0.5, 1, 2 and 4kHz) was calculated. The MEGA-PRESS sequence was used to measure GABA+ concentrations in 4×3×3cm3 volumes centered on the left and right Heschl's gyri.GABA. + concentrations were significantly lower in the presbycusis group compared to the control group (left auditory regions: p = 0.002, right auditory regions: p = 0.008). Significant negative correlations were observed between PTA and GABA. + concentrations in the presbycusis group (r = - 0.57, p = 0.02), while a similar trend was found in the control group (r = - 0.40, p = 0.08). These results are consistent with a hypothesis of dysfunctional GABAergic neurotransmission in the central auditory system in presbycusis and suggest a potential treatment target for presbycusis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-316
Number of pages6
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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