Resting GABA and glutamate concentrations do not predict visual gamma frequency or amplitude.
Cousijn H., Haegens S., Wallis G., Near J., Stokes MG., Harrison PJ., Nobre AC.
Gamma band oscillations arise in neuronal networks of interconnected GABAergic interneurons and excitatory pyramidal cells. A previous study found a correlation between visual gamma peak frequency, as measured with magnetoencephalography, and resting GABA levels, as measured with magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), in 12 healthy volunteers. If true, this would allow studies in clinical populations testing modulation of this relationship, but this finding has not been replicated. We addressed this important question by measuring gamma oscillations and GABA, as well as glutamate, in 50 healthy volunteers. Visual gamma activity was evoked using an established gratings paradigm, and we applied a beamformer spatial filtering technique to extract source-reconstructed gamma peak frequency and amplitude from the occipital lobe. We determined gamma peak frequency and amplitude from the location with maximal activation and from the location of the MRS voxel to assess the relationship of GABA with gamma. Gamma peak frequency was estimated from the highest value of the raw spectra and by a Gaussian fit to the spectra. MRS data were acquired from occipital cortex. We did not replicate the previously found correlation between gamma peak frequency and GABA concentration. Calculation of a Bayes factor provided strong evidence in favor of the null hypothesis. We also did not find a correlation between gamma activity and glutamate or between gamma and the ratio of GABA/glutamate. Our results suggest that cortical gamma oscillations do not have a consistent, demonstrable relationship to excitatory/inhibitory network activity as proxied by MRS measurements of GABA and glutamate.