Evidence for impaired cortical inhibition in patients with unipolar major depression.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

BACKGROUND: Several lines of evidence suggest that central cortical inhibitory mechanisms, especially associated with gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurotransmission, may play a role in the pathophysiology of major depression. Transcranial magnetic stimulation is a useful tool for investigating central cortical inhibitory mechanisms associated with GABAergic neurotransmission in psychiatric and neurological disorders. METHODS: By means of transcranial magnetic stimulation, different parameters of cortical excitability, including motor threshold, the cortical silent period, and intracortical inhibition/facilitation, were investigated in 20 medication-free depressed patients and 20 age- and gender-matched healthy volunteers. RESULTS: Silent period and intracortical inhibition were reduced in depressed patients, consistent with a reduced GABAergic tone. Moreover, patients showed a significant hemispheric asymmetry in motor threshold. CONCLUSIONS: This study provides evidence of reduced GABAergic tone and motor threshold asymmetry in patients with major depression.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Bajbouj, M; Lisanby, SH; Lang, UE; Danker-Hopfe, H; Heuser, I; Neu, P

Published Date

  • March 1, 2006

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 59 / 5

Start / End Page

  • 395 - 400

PubMed ID

  • 16197927

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0006-3223

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.biopsych.2005.07.036


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States