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Dorsolateral Prefrontal γ-Aminobutyric Acid in Men Predicts Individual Differences in Rash Impulsivity

Boy, Frederic, Evans, Christopher John ORCID:, Edden, Richard A. E., Lawrence, Andrew David ORCID:, Husain, Masud, Singh, Krish Devi ORCID: and Sumner, Petroc ORCID: 2011. Dorsolateral Prefrontal γ-Aminobutyric Acid in Men Predicts Individual Differences in Rash Impulsivity. Biological Psychiatry 70 (9) , pp. 866-872. 10.1016/j.biopsych.2011.05.030

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Background Impulsivity is a multifaceted personality construct associated with numerous psychiatric disorders. Recent research has characterized four facets of impulsivity: “urgency” (the tendency to act rashly especially in the context of distress or cravings); “lack of premeditation” (not envisaging the consequences of actions); “lack of perseverance” (not staying focused on a task); and “sensation seeking” (engaging in exciting activities). Urgency is particularly associated with clinical populations and problematic disinhibited behavior. Methods We used magnetic resonance spectroscopy to measure concentration of the inhibitory neurotransmitter γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) in two cohorts of 12 and 13 participants. Results We find that variation in trait urgency in healthy men correlates with GABA concentration in the DLPFC. The result was replicated in an independent cohort. More GABA predicted lower urgency scores, consistent with a role in self-control for GABA-mediated inhibitory mechanisms in DLPFC. Conclusions These findings help account for individual differences in self-control and thus clarify the relationship between GABA and a wide range of psychiatric disorders associated with impaired self-control.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC)
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords: Externalizing; γ-aminobutyric acid receptor α-2 (GABRA2); inhibition; neurochemistry; personality; self-control; stop-signal; urgency
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0006-3223
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2022 09:00

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