Injury-induced reorganization of somatosensory cortex is accompanied by reductions in GABA staining

Somatosens Mot Res. 1991;8(4):347-54. doi: 10.3109/08990229109144757.


When a portion of primary somatosensory cortex is deprived of its normal inputs by peripheral nerve transection, intact skin surfaces represented in surrounding cortex come to activate the deprived zone within 2 months. We found that this cortical reorganization was accompanied by a marked decrease in the antibody staining of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) within the deprived sector of cortex in monkeys surviving nerve injury for 2-5 months. In contrast, there were no apparent changes in cytochrome oxidase reactivity in the deprived cortex of these same monkeys. Reduced levels of inhibition could allow previously unexpressed connections to become potent. Thus, the regulation of the expression of GABA appears to be one mechanism for maintaining and altering cortical representations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Afferent Pathways / physiology
  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping
  • Dominance, Cerebral / physiology
  • Electron Transport Complex IV / physiology
  • Hand / innervation
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Nerve Regeneration / physiology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Peripheral Nerve Injuries*
  • Peripheral Nerves / physiology
  • Saimiri
  • Somatosensory Cortex / physiology*
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / physiology*


  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Electron Transport Complex IV