Strengthening the GABAergic System Through Neurofeedback Training Suppresses Implicit Motor Learning

Tomoya Gyoda, Ippei Nojima, Su Chuan Lin, Satoko Koganemaru, Tatsuya Mima, Shigeo Tanabe, Ying Zu Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) activity within the primary motor cortex (M1) is essential for motor learning in cortical plasticity, and a recent study has suggested that real-time neurofeedback training (NFT) can self-regulate GABA activity. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the effect of GABA activity strengthening via NFT on subsequent motor learning. Thirty-six healthy participants were randomly assigned to either an NFT group or control group, which received sham feedback. GABA activity was assessed for short intracortical inhibition (SICI) within the right M1 using paired-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation. During the NFT intervention period, the participants tried to modulate the size of a circle, which was altered according to the degree of SICI in the NFT group. However, the size was altered independently of the degree of SICI in the control group. We measured the reaction time before, after (online learning), and 24 h after (offline learning) the finger-tapping task. Results showed the strengthening of GABA activity induced by the NFT intervention, and the suppression of the online but not the offline learning. These findings suggest that prior GABA activity modulation may affect online motor learning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-121
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 15-04-2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)


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