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Evaluating the relationship between long interval cortical inhibition, working memory and gamma band activity in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex

Daskalakis ZJ, Farzan F, Barr MS, Rusjan PM, Favalli G, Levinson AJ, Fitzgerald PB.

Recent reports have demonstrated that long interval cortical inhibition (LICI) can be indexed in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) in healthy controls. LICI is a neurophysiologic process indexed using transcranial magnetic stimulation and is closely associated with cortical GABA(B) receptor mediated inhibitory neurotransmission. Several previous studies have also reported that gamma band activity represents a neurophysiological process that is mediated, in part, through GABAergic inhibitory neurotransmission and may subserve several cognitive operations including working memory (WM) in the DLPFC. The intension of the current study, therefore, was to directly evaluate the relationship between these neurophysiological processes in healthy subjects. Eleven right-handed healthy subjects participated in this experiment in which gamma band activity was measured through simultaneous recording of electroencephalography (EEG) during the N-back task, a cognitive task designed to index WM. LICI was recorded through EEG from the left DLFPC, left motor cortex and through EMG of peripheral hand muscles in a separate session according to previously published methods. There was no evidence for a relationship in the DLPFC between LICI and gamma band activity elicited during the N-back task, though there was a significant relationship between LICI and performance on the 3-back condition, the N-back condition of greatest difficulty. In conclusion these data provide evidence to suggest that in the DLPFC, there is no direct relationship between GABA(B) receptor mediated inhibitory neurotransmission and gamma band activity. However, our data does suggest that LICI was related to 3-back performance providing evidence implicating DLPFC GABAergic inhibitory neurotransmission in WM performance.

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