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Clin Neurophysiol. 2007 Feb;118(2):308-16. Epub 2006 Dec 14.

Effects of GABA(A) and GABA(B) agonists on interhemispheric inhibition in man.

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Vision and Motor Group, Department of Neurology, Charité, Humboldt University of Berlin, Campus Mitte, Schumannstrasse 20-21, D-10117 Berlin, Germany.



Animal studies on neurotransmitter systems that mediate interhemispheric inhibition (IHI) suggest that, (i) callosal transmission is regulated by presynaptic GABA(B) receptors, and (ii) GABA(A)-ergic neurones mediate early IHI, whereas GABA(B)-ergic neurones mediate later IHI. In humans the mechanism is unclear. Interactions between cortical inhibitory circuits suggest a postsynaptic GABA(B)-ergic mechanism. We will here test this hypothesis.


Short-latency IHI (s-IHI) and long-latency IHI (l-IHI) were evaluated using the paired pulse paradigm before and under medication with (i) a GABA(B)-agonist (baclofen) in 17 subjects, and (ii) a GABA(A)-agonist (midazolam) in 10 subjects participating twice.


Baclofen did not significantly enhance s-IHI. L-IHI between 20 and 50ms was significantly strengthened, and obtained also at ISIs between 100 and 200ms. Midazolam had no effect on s-IHI, whereas l-IHI was attenuated.


Our results support the hypothesis, that l-IHI in humans is mediated by postsynaptic GABA(B) receptors. GABA(A)-ergic medication resulted in attenuation of l-IHI. Regarding s-IHI, our results are inconclusive and require further investigation.


This is the first human study evaluating the effect of baclofen on IHI, indicating that l-IHI is mediated by GABA(B)-ergic neurones. Because interhemispheric interaction is now also been used as a therapeutic approach, understanding the underlying neurotransmitter systems will be increasingly relevant.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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