γ-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) administration improves action selection processes: a randomised controlled trial

Sci Rep. 2015 Jul 31;5:12770. doi: 10.1038/srep12770.

Abstract

In order to accomplish a task goal, real-life environments require us to develop different action control strategies in order to rapidly react to fast-moving visual and auditory stimuli. When engaging in complex scenarios, it is essential to prioritise and cascade different actions. Recent studies have pointed to an important role of the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-ergic system in the neuromodulation of action cascading. In this study we assessed the specific causal role of the GABA-ergic system in modulating the efficiency of action cascading by administering 800 mg of synthetic GABA or 800 mg oral of microcrystalline cellulose (placebo). In a double-blind, randomised, between-group design, 30 healthy adults performed a stop-change paradigm. Results showed that the administration of GABA, compared to placebo, increased action selection when an interruption (stop) and a change towards an alternative response were required simultaneously, and when such a change had to occur after the completion of the stop process. These findings, involving the systemic administration of synthetic GABA, provide the first evidence for a possible causal role of the GABA-ergic system in modulating performance in action cascading.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Affect / drug effects
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Decision Making / drug effects*
  • Decision Making / physiology
  • Executive Function
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Young Adult
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / administration & dosage*

Substances

  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid