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Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2014 Nov;47:36-52. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2014.07.016. Epub 2014 Jul 24.

Associations of regional GABA and glutamate with intrinsic and extrinsic neural activity in humans—a review of multimodal imaging studies.

Author information

1
Mind, Brain Imaging and Neuroethics, Institute of Mental Health Research, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada; Centre for Cognition and Brain Disorders, Hangzhou Normal University, Hangzhou, China. Electronic address: niall.w.duncan@gmail.com.
2
Mind, Brain Imaging and Neuroethics, Institute of Mental Health Research, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada; Department of Psychiatry, Charité-Universitätsmedizin, Berlin, Germany.
3
Mind, Brain Imaging and Neuroethics, Institute of Mental Health Research, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada.

Abstract

The integration of multiple imaging modalities is becoming an increasingly well used research strategy for studying the human brain. The neurotransmitters glutamate and GABA particularly lend themselves towards such studies. This is because these transmitters are ubiquitous throughout the cortex, where they are the key constituents of the inhibition/excitation balance, and because they can be easily measured in vivo through magnetic resonance spectroscopy, as well as with select positron emission tomography approaches. How these transmitters underly functional responses measured with techniques such as fMRI and EEG remains unclear though, and was the target of this review. Consistently shown in the literature was a negative correlation between GABA concentrations and stimulus-induced activity within the measured region. Also consistently found was a positive correlation between glutamate concentrations and inter-regional activity relationships, both during tasks and rest. These findings are outlined along with results from populations with mental disorders to give an overview of what brain imaging has suggested to date about the biochemical underpinnings of functional activity in health and disease. We conclude that the combination of functional and biochemical imaging in humans is an increasingly informative approach that does however require a number of key methodological and interpretive issues be addressed before can meet its potential.

KEYWORDS:

Depression; EEG; GABA; Glutamate; MEG; MRS; Multimodal imaging; PET; Resting-state; Stimulus-induced activity; fMRI

PMID:
25066091
DOI:
10.1016/j.neubiorev.2014.07.016
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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