Using the local (flux-tube) version of the Eulerian code GENE (Jenko et al 2000 Phys. Plasmas 7 1904), gyrokinetic simulations of microturbulence were carried out considering parameters relevant to electron-internal transport barriers (e-ITBs) in the TCV tokamak (Sauter et al 2005 Phys. Rev. Lett. 94 105002), generated under conditions of low or negative shear. For typical density and temperature gradients measured in such barriers, the corresponding simulated fluctuation spectra appears to simultaneously contain longer wavelength trapped electron modes (TEMs, for typically k⊥ρi < 0.5, k⊥ being the characteristic perpendicular wavenumber and ρi the ion Larmor radius) and shorter wavelength ion temperature gradient modes (ITG, k⊥ρi > 0.5). The contributions to the electron particle flux from these two types of modes are, respectively, outward/inward and may cancel each other for experimentally realistic gradients. This mechanism may partly explain the feasibility of e-ITBs. The non-linear simulation results confirm the predictions of a previously developed quasi-linear model (Fable et al 2010 Plasma Phys. Control. Fusion 52 015007), namely that the stationary condition of zero particle flux is obtained through the competitive contributions of ITG and TEM. A quantitative comparison of the electron heat flux with experimental estimates is presented as well.