Mechanisms of use-dependent plasticity in the human motor cortex

Cathrin M. Bütefisch, Benjamin C. Davis, Steven P. Wise, Lumy Sawaki, Leonid Kopylev, Joseph Classen, Leonardo G. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

512 Scopus citations


Practicing movements results in improvement in performance and in plasticity of the motor cortex. To identify the underlying mechanisms, we studied use-dependent plasticity in human subjects premedicated with drugs that influence synaptic plasticity. Use-dependent plasticity was reduced substantially by dextromethorphan (an N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor blocker) and by lorazepam [a γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) type A receptor-positive allosteric modulator]. These results identify N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor activation and GABAergic inhibition as mechanisms operating in use-dependent plasticity in intact human motor cortex and point to similarities in the mechanisms underlying this form of plasticity and long-term potentiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3661-3665
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number7
StatePublished - Mar 28 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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