Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid and Glutamate Concentrations in the Striatum and Anterior Cingulate Cortex Not Found to Be Associated with Cognitive Flexibility

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftForschungsartikelBeigetragenBegutachtung


Behavioral flexibility and goal-directed behavior heavily depend on fronto-striatal networks. Within these circuits, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glutamate play an important role in (motor) response inhibition, but it has remained largely unclear whether they are also relevant for cognitive inhibition. We hence investigated the functional role of these transmitters for cognitive inhibition during cognitive flexibility. Healthy young adults performed two paradigms assessing different aspects of cognitive flexibility. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) was used to quantify GABA+ and total glutamate/glutamine (Glx) levels in the striatum and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) referenced to N-acetylaspartate (NAA). We observed typical task switching and backward inhibition effects, but striatal and ACC concentrations of GABA+/NAA and Glx/NAA were not associated with cognitive flexibility in a functionally relevant manner. The assumption of null effects was underpinned by Bayesian testing. These findings suggest that behavioral and cognitive inhibition are functionally distinct faculties, that depend on (at least partly) different brain structures and neurotransmitter systems. While previous studies consistently demonstrated that motor response inhibition is modulated by ACC and striatal GABA levels, our results suggest that the functionally distinct cognitive inhibition required for successful switching is not, or at least to a much lesser degree, modulated by these factors.


FachzeitschriftBrain sciences
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 11 Aug. 2023

Externe IDs

Scopus 85169156491
ORCID /0000-0002-2989-9561/work/150883459
ORCID /0000-0003-1838-2230/work/150884038
PubMed 37626548
PubMedCentral PMC10452168
ORCID /0000-0001-8204-5699/work/156335425