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PLoS One. 2016 Jun 3;11(6):e0156829. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0156829. eCollection 2016.

Beta Peak Frequencies at Rest Correlate with Endogenous GABA+/Cr Concentrations in Sensorimotor Cortex Areas.

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Institute of Clinical Neuroscience and Medical Psychology, Medical Faculty, Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany.
Russell H. Morgan Department of Radiology and Radiological Science, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America.
F.M. Kirby Center for Functional Brain Imaging, Kennedy Krieger Institute, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America.
Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, Medical Faculty, Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany.


Neuronal oscillatory activity in the beta band (15-30 Hz) is a prominent signal within the human sensorimotor cortex. Computational modeling and pharmacological modulation studies suggest an influence of GABAergic interneurons on the generation of beta band oscillations. Accordingly, studies in humans have demonstrated a correlation between GABA concentrations and power of beta band oscillations. It remains unclear, however, if GABA concentrations also influence beta peak frequencies and whether this influence is present in the sensorimotor cortex at rest and without pharmacological modulation. In the present study, we investigated the relation between endogenous GABA concentration (measured by magnetic resonance spectroscopy) and beta oscillations (measured by magnetoencephalography) at rest in humans. GABA concentrations and beta band oscillations were measured for left and right sensorimotor and occipital cortex areas. A significant positive linear correlation between GABA concentration and beta peak frequency was found for the left sensorimotor cortex, whereas no significant correlations were found for the right sensorimotor and the occipital cortex. The results show a novel connection between endogenous GABA concentration and beta peak frequency at rest. This finding supports previous results that demonstrated a connection between oscillatory beta activity and pharmacologically modulated GABA concentration in the sensorimotor cortex. Furthermore, the results demonstrate that for a predominantly right-handed sample, the correlation between beta band oscillations and endogenous GABA concentrations is evident only in the left sensorimotor cortex.

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