GABA level, gamma oscillation, and working memory performance in schizophrenia.
A relationship between working memory impairment, disordered neuronal oscillations, and abnormal prefrontal GABA function has been hypothesized in schizophrenia; however, in vivo GABA measurements and gamma band neural synchrony have not yet been compared in schizophrenia. This case-control pilot study (N = 24) compared baseline and working memory task-induced neuronal oscillations acquired with high-density electroencephalograms (EEGs) to GABA levels measured in vivo with magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Working memory performance, baseline GABA level in the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), and measures of gamma oscillations from EEGs at baseline and during a working memory task were obtained. A major limitation of this study is a relatively small sample size for several analyses due to the integration of diverse methodologies and participant compliance. Working memory performance was significantly lower for patients than for controls. During the working memory task, patients (n = 7) had significantly lower amplitudes in gamma oscillations than controls (n = 9). However, both at rest and across working memory stages, there were significant correlations between gamma oscillation amplitude and left DLPFC GABA level. Peak gamma frequency during the encoding stage of the working memory task (n = 16) significantly correlated with GABA level and working memory performance. Despite gamma band amplitude deficits in patients across working memory stages, both baseline and working memory-induced gamma oscillations showed strong dependence on baseline GABA levels in patients and controls. These findings suggest a critical role for GABA function in gamma band oscillations, even under conditions of system and cognitive impairments as seen in schizophrenia.
Chen, C-MA; Stanford, AD; Mao, X; Abi-Dargham, A; Shungu, DC; Lisanby, SH; Schroeder, CE; Kegeles, LS
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