Establishing the associations between magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS)-assessed gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)-derived ‘task-related’ modulations in GABAA receptor-mediated inhibition and how these associations change with advancing age is a topic of interest in the field of human neuroscience. In this study, we identified the relationship between GABA levels and task-related modulations in GABAA receptor-mediated inhibition in the dominant (left) and non-dominant (right) sensorimotor (SM) cortices. GABA levels were measured using edited MRS and task-related GABAA receptor-mediated inhibition was measured using a short-interval intracortical inhibition (SICI) TMS protocol during the preparation and premotor period of a choice reaction time (CRT) task in 25 young (aged 18–33 years) and 25 older (aged 60–74 years) adults. Our results demonstrated that GABA levels in both SM voxels were lower in older adults as compared to younger adults; and higher SM GABA levels in the dominant as compared to the non-dominant SM voxel pointed to a lateralization effect, irrespective of age group. Furthermore, older adults showed decreased GABAA receptor-mediated inhibition in the preparation phase of the CRT task within the dominant primary motor cortex (M1), as compared to young adults. Finally, results from an exploratory correlation analysis pointed towards positive relationships between MRS-assessed GABA levels and TMS-derived task-related SICI measures. However, after correction for multiple comparisons none of the correlations remained significant.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cognitive Neuroscience