• Open Access

Role of GABAA inhibition in modulation of pyramidal tract neuron activity during postural corrections


Dr Irina Beloozerova, as above.
E-mail: ibelooz@chw.edu


In a previous study we demonstrated that the activity of pyramidal tract neurons (PTNs) of the motor cortex is modulated in relation to postural corrections evoked by periodical tilts of the animal. The modulation included an increase in activity in one phase of the tilt cycle and a decrease in the other phase. It is known that the motor cortex contains a large population of inhibitory GABAergic neurons. How do these neurons participate in periodic modulation of PTNs? The goal of this study was to investigate the role of GABAA inhibitory neurons of the motor cortex in the modulation of postural-related PTN activity. Using extracellular electrodes with attached micropipettes, we recorded the activity of PTNs in cats maintaining balance on a tilting platform both before and after iontophoretic application of the GABAA receptor antagonists gabazine or bicuculline. The tilt-related activity of 93% of PTNs was affected by GABAA receptor antagonists. In 88% of cells, peak activity increased by 75 ± 50% (mean ± SD). In contrast, the trough activity changed by a much smaller value and almost as many neurons showed a decrease as showed an increase. In 73% of the neurons, the phase position of the peak activity did not change or changed by no more than 0.1 of a cycle. We conclude that the GABAergic system of the motor cortex reduces the posture-related responses of PTNs but has little role in determining their response timing.