Levels of the inhibitory transmitter, GABA, and its synthesizing enzyme, GAD, appear to be regulated in the visual cortex of young adult monkeys in an activity-dependent manner. In monkeys subjected to monocular deprivation by eye removal, tetrodotoxin injection, or eyelide suture, the number of GABA and GAD immunoreactive neurons in deprived-eye columns of the cortex is reduced by up to 50%. This effect is unaccompanied by cell death and is reversible. After cessation of TTX injection or reopening of the eyes, the number of immunostained cells returns to normal. The effect appears after 4-5 days of eye removal or tetrodotoxin injection, but only after 7-16 weeks of eyelid suture. In the latter case, it is more severe in the younger monkeys. The reversible reduction in GABA and GAD immunostaining extends out of layer IVC into lay IVA and to neurons around but not in cytochrome oxidase periodicities of layer III. This may indicate selective vulnerability of GABA cells sensitive to high spatial frequency.