More Responsive to Stimuli When Inhibited

Science's STKE  06 May 2003:
Vol. 2003, Issue 181, pp. tw182-TW182
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2003.181.tw182

The decline of cortical functions with age occurs not only in humans but also in monkeys. Degradation of intracortical inhibition may underlie these declines. Leventhal et al. tested this hypothesis by applying either γ-amino-butyric acid (GABA) or GABA receptor agonists directly on neurons in the primary visual cortex of old macaque monkeys. This treatment improved orientation and direction selectivity to visual stimuli in neurons of aged monkeys, but not in young ones.

A. G. Leventhal, Y. Wang, M. Pu, Y. Zhou, Y. Ma, GABA and its agonists improved visual cortical function in senescent monkeys. Science 300, 812-815 (2003). [Abstract] [Full Text]