Glutamatergic facilitation of neural responses in MT enhances motion perception in humans

Michael Paul Schallmo, Rachel Millin, Alex M. Kale, Tamar Kolodny, Richard A.E. Edden, Raphael A. Bernier, Scott O. Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


There is large individual variability in human neural responses and perceptual abilities. The factors that give rise to these individual differences, however, remain largely unknown. To examine these factors, we measured fMRI responses to moving gratings in the motion-selective region MT, and perceptual duration thresholds for motion direction discrimination. Further, we acquired MR spectroscopy data, which allowed us to quantify an index of neurotransmitter levels in the region of area MT. These three measurements were conducted in separate experimental sessions within the same group of male and female subjects. We show that stronger Glx (glutamate + glutamine) signals in the MT region are associated with both higher fMRI responses and superior psychophysical task performance. Our results suggest that greater baseline levels of glutamate within MT facilitate motion perception by increasing neural responses in this region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)925-931
Number of pages7
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by funding from the National Institutes of Health ( F32 EY025121 to MPS, R01 MH106520 to SOM, T32 EY00703 ). This work applies tools developed under NIH grants R01 EB016089 and P41 EB015909 ; RAEE also receives support from these grants.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Inc.


  • Functional MRI
  • Glutamate
  • Individual differences
  • MR spectroscopy
  • Vision


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