A Mechanistic Link from GABA to Cortical Architecture and Perception.

Kolasinski J
Logan JP
Hinson EL
Manners D
Divanbeighi Zand AP
Makin TR
Emir UE
Stagg CJ
Scientific Abstract

Understanding both the organization of the human cortex and its relation to the performance of distinct functions is fundamental in neuroscience. The primary sensory cortices display topographic organization, whereby receptive fields follow a characteristic pattern, from tonotopy to retinotopy to somatotopy [1]. GABAergic signaling is vital to the maintenance of cortical receptive fields [2]; however, it is unclear how this fine-grain inhibition relates to measurable patterns of perception [3, 4]. Based on perceptual changes following perturbation of the GABAergic system, it is conceivable that the resting level of cortical GABAergic tone directly relates to the spatial specificity of activation in response to a given input [5-7]. The specificity of cortical activation can be considered in terms of cortical tuning: greater cortical tuning yields more localized recruitment of cortical territory in response to a given input. We applied a combination of fMRI, MR spectroscopy, and psychophysics to substantiate the link between the cortical neurochemical milieu, the tuning of cortical activity, and variability in perceptual acuity, using human somatosensory cortex as a model. We provide data that explain human perceptual acuity in terms of both the underlying cellular and metabolic processes. Specifically, higher concentrations of sensorimotor GABA are associated with more selective cortical tuning, which in turn is associated with enhanced perception. These results show anatomical and neurochemical specificity and are replicated in an independent cohort. The mechanistic link from neurochemistry to perception provides a vital step in understanding population variability in sensory behavior, informing metabolic therapeutic interventions to restore perceptual abilities clinically.

2017. Curr. Biol., 27:1685-1691
More Like This
Barron HC, Vogels TP, Behrens TE, Ramaswami M
2017.Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 114(26):6666-6674.
Unit Publication
Bogacz R

2017.J Math Psychol, 76(Pt B):198-211.

Unit Publication
Nowak M, Hinson EL, van Ede F, Pogosyan A, Guerra A, Quinn AJ, Brown P, Stagg CJ
2017. J. Neurosci., 37:4481-4492.
Unit Publication
Duchet B, Weerasinghe G, Cagnan H, Brown P, Bick C, Bogacz R
2020. J Math Neurosci, 10(1):4.
Unit Publication
Fischer P, Lipski WJ, Neumann WJ, Turner R, Fries P, Brown P, Richardson RM
2020. eLife, 9:e51956.
Unit Publication