The human motor cortex exhibits characteristic beta (15-30 Hz) and gamma oscillations (60-90 Hz), typically observed in the context of transient finger movement tasks. The functional significance of these oscillations, such as post-movement beta rebound (PMBR) and movement-related gamma synchrony (MRGS) remains unclear. Considerable animal and human non-invasive studies, however, suggest that the networks supporting these motor cortex oscillations depend critically on the inhibitory neurotransmitter γ-Aminobutyric acid (GABA). Despite such speculation, a direct relation between MEG measured motor cortex oscillatory power and frequency with resting GABA concentrations has not been demonstrated. In the present study, motor cortical responses were measured from 9 healthy adults while they performed a cued button-press task using their right index finger. In each participant, PMBR and MRGS measures were obtained from time-frequency plots obtained from primary motor (MI) sources, localized using beamformer differential source localization. For each participant, complimentary magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) GABA measures aligned to the motor hand knob of the left central sulcus were also obtained. GABA concentration was estimated as the ratio of the motor cortex GABA integral to a cortical reference NAA resonance at 2 ppm. A significant linear relation was observed between MI GABA concentration and MRGS frequency (R(2)=0.46, p<0.05), with no association observed between GABA concentration and MRGS power. Conversely, a significant linear relation was observed between MI GABA concentration and PMBR power (R(2)=0.34, p<0.05), with no relation observed for GABA concentration and PMBR frequency. Finally, a significant negative linear relation between the participant's age and MI gamma frequency was observed, such that older participants had a lower gamma frequency (R(2)=0.40, p<0.05). Present findings support a role for GABA in the generation and modulation of endogenous motor cortex rhythmic beta and gamma activity.
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