The role of GABAergic modulation in motor function related neuronal network activity

Stephen D. Hall, Ian M. Stanford, Naoki Yamawaki, Craig McAllister, K.C. Rönnqvist, Gavin L. Woodhall, Paul L. Furlong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


At rest, the primary motor cortex (M1) exhibits spontaneous neuronal network oscillations in the beta (15–30 Hz) frequency range, mediated by inhibitory interneuron drive via GABA-A receptors. However, questions remain regarding the neuropharmacological basis of movement related oscillatory phenomena, such as movement related beta desynchronisation (MRBD), post-movement beta rebound (PMBR) and movement related gamma synchronisation (MRGS). To address this, we used magnetoencephalography (MEG) to study the movement related oscillatory changes in M1 cortex of eight healthy participants, following administration of the GABA-A modulator diazepam. Results demonstrate that, contrary to initial hypotheses, neither MRGS nor PMBR appear to be GABA-A dependent, whilst the MRBD is facilitated by increased GABAergic drive. These data demonstrate that while movement-related beta changes appear to be dependent upon spontaneous beta oscillations, they occur independently of one other. Crucially, MRBD is a GABA-A mediated process, offering a possible mechanism by which motor function may be modulated. However, in contrast, the transient increase in synchronous power observed in PMBR and MRGS appears to be generated by a non-GABA-A receptor mediated process; the elucidation of which may offer important insights into motor processes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1506-1510
Number of pages5
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2011

Bibliographical note

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in NeuroImage. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Hall, Stephen D.; Stanford, Ian M.; Yamawaki, Naoki; McAllister, Craig; Rönnqvist, K.C.; Woodhall, Gavin L. and Furlong, Paul L. (2011). The role of GABAergic modulation in motor function related neuronal network activity. NeuroImage, 56 (3), pp. 1506-1510. DOI 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2011.02.025


  • motor cortex
  • GABA
  • beta
  • gamma
  • oscillations
  • synchronisation
  • desynchronisation
  • magnetoencephalography
  • MEG


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