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gamma amino-butyric acid  (GABA )

Edited By: Joe Hing Kwok Chu

Gamma amino-butyric acid is an important amino acid which functions as the most prevalent inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system.
Gamma amino-butyric acid works in partnership with a derivative of Vitamin B-6, pyridoxine, to cross from the axons to the dendrites through the synaptic cleft, in response to an electrical signal in the neuron and inhibits message transmission. This helps control the nerve cells from firing too fast, which would overload the system.
The action of gamma amino-butyric acid decreases epileptic seizures and muscle spasms by inhibiting electrical signals in this manner. Studies have shown that the site of action in the brain of benzodiazepams, including Valium, is directly coupled to the brain receptor for gamma amino-butyric acid.

Studies by Chinese Academy of Sciences show that when people get older the amount of gamma amino-butyric acid in the CNS get smaller, thus causes the noises in the brain, weakening the signal transmission of the neurons. This causes the hearing and eye vision of older people become weaker.

High nitric oxide concentrations in the brain following L-Arginine administration may increase the permeability of blood brain barrier to peripheral GABA.[1]

More ... (from Pubmed)

  1. Online Medical Dictionary, (05 Jan 1998)

  2. Partially translated from Chinese Academy Sciences:

[1] 2002 Jan 15;57(2):231-6.

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