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Dynamics of γ-aminobutyric acid concentration in the human brain in response to short visual stimulation.

Magma 2023 September 17
OBJECTIVE: To find a possible quantitative relation between activation-induced fast (< 10 s) changes in the γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) level and the amplitude of a blood oxygen level-dependent contrast (BOLD) response (according to magnetic resonance spectroscopy [MRS] and functional magnetic resonance imaging [fMRI]).

MATERIALS AND METHODS: fMRI data and MEGA-PRESS magnetic resonance spectra [echo time (TE)/repetition time (TR) = 68 ms/1500 ms] of an activated area in the visual cortex of 33 subjects were acquired using a 3 T MR scanner. Stimulation was performed by presenting an image of a flickering checkerboard for 3 s, repeated with an interval of 13.5 s. The time course of GABA and creatine (Cr) concentrations and the width and height of resonance lines were obtained with a nominal time resolution of 1.5 s. Changes in the linewidth and height of n-acetylaspartate (NAA) and Cr signals were used to determine the BOLD effect.

RESULTS: In response to the activation, the BOLD-corrected GABA + /Cr ratio increased by 5.0% (q = 0.027) and 3.8% (q = 0.048) at 1.6 and 3.1 s, respectively, after the start of the stimulus. Time courses of Cr and NAA signal width and height reached a maximum change at the 6th second (~ 1.2-1.5%, q < 0.05).

CONCLUSION: The quick response of the observed GABA concentration to the short stimulus is most likely due to a release of GABA from vesicles followed by its packaging back into vesicles.

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