Skip to main content Accessibility help

Plasma and CSF Gaba in Affective Illness

  • Wade H. Berrettini (a1), John I. Nurnberger (a2), Theodore Hare (a3), Elliott S. Gershon (a4) and Robert M. Post (a5)...


CSF and plasma GABA was measured in patients with bipolar affective illness and matched controls. There was no correlation between CSF and plasma GABA in 10 pairs of simultaneously obtained samples. Plasma GABA was significantly lower in a group of 10 euthymic medication-free bipolar patients compared to 41 normal volunteers (P <.02). This finding was replicated in a second study involving 6 patients and 10 normal volunteers. Twin studies showed a high correlation between members of 11 monozygotic twin pairs (P <.008). Diurnal variation was minimal, but bimonthly sampling over one year revealed somewhat higher values in the late summer compared to late winter.


Corresponding author



Hide All
Balletto, E., Cherchi, M. A., Arillo, A., Doria-Lamba, L., Melodia, F. & Mensi, P. (1978) GABA synthesis in erythrocytes of Testudo hermanni Gmelin. Communications in Biochemistry and Physiology, 61, 281–2.
Bernasconi, R. & Martin, P. (1979) Effects of antiepileptic drugs on the GABA turnover rate. Archives of Pharmacology, 307, 251.
Berrettini, W. H. & Post, R. M. (1982) GABA in affective illness. In Neurobiology of Mood Disorders (ed. Post, R. M. and Ballenger, J.). Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins (in press).
Emrich, H. M., v. Zerssen, O., Kissling, W., Moller, H. J. & Windorfer, A. (1980) Effect of sodium valproate on mania. Archives Psychiatrica Nervenkranken, 229, 121.
Ferkany, J. W., Butler, I. J. & Enna, S. J. (1979) Effect of drugs on rat brain CSF and blood GABA content. Journal of Neurochemistry, 33, 2933.
Ferkany, J. W., Smith, L. A., Seifert, W. E. Jr., Caprioli, R. M. & Enna, S. J. (1978) Measurement of GABA in blood. Life Sciences, 22, 2121–8.
Gerner, R. H. & Hare, T. A. (1981) CSF GABA in normals, depression, schizophrenia, mania and anorexia nervosa. American Journal of Psychiatry, 138, 1098–101.
Glaesar, B. S. & Hare, T. A. (1975) Measurement of GABA in human cerebrospinal fluid. Biochemical Medicine, 12, 274–82.
Gold, B. I., Bowers, M. B. Jr., Roth, R. H. & Sweeney, D. W. (1980) GABA levels in CSF of patients with psychiatric disorders. American Journal of Psychiatry, 137, 362–4.
Green, A. R., Peralta, E., Hong, J. S., Mao, C. C., Atterwill, C. K. & Costa, E. (1978) Alterations in GABA metabolism and met-enkephalin content in rat brain following repeated electroconvulsive shocks. Journal of Neurochemistry, 31, 607–18.
Grossman, N. H., Hare, T. A., Manyam, M. V. B., Glaesar, B. S. & Wood, J. H. (1980) Stability of GABA levels in CSF under various conditions of storage. Brain Research, 182, 99.
Hare, T. A. & Manyam, N. V. B. (1980) Rapid and sensitive ion-exchange fluorometric measurement of GABA in physiologic fluids. Analytical Biochemistry, 101, 349–55.
Kuriyama, K. & Sze, P. Y. (1970) Penetration of GABA across the blood-brain barrier. Pharmacologist, 13, 207–12.
Loscher, W. (1979) GABA in plasma and CSF of different species. Effects of γ-acetylenic GABA, γ-vinyl GABA and sodium valproate. Journal of Neurochemistry, 32, 1587–91.
Loscher, W. & Schmidt, D. (1981) Plasma GABA levels in neurological patients under treatment with valproic acid. Life Sciences, 28, 2383–8.
Maggi, A. & Enna, S. J. (1980) Regional alterations in rat brain neurotransmitter systems following chronic lithium treatment. Journal of Neurochemistry, 34, 888–92.
Manyam, N. V. B., Hare, T. A. & Katz, Z. (1980) Effect of isoniazid on CSF and plasma GABA levels in Huntington's Disease. Life Sciences, 26, 1303–8.
Mazure, C. & Gershon, E. S. (1979) Blindness and reliability in lifetime psychiatric diagnosis. Archives of General Psychiatry, 127, 110.
Morselli, P. L., Bossi, L., Henry, J. F., Zarifian, E. & Bartholini, G. (1980) On the therapeutic action of SL 76 002, a new GABA-mimetic agent. Brain Research Bulletin, 5 (Supplement), 411–15.
Nakamura, S., Miyata, S. & Kameyama, M. (1978) Serum DBH, GAD and serum amino acid decarboxylase in involuntary movement disorders. Rinsho Shinkeigaku, 19, 511–14.
Petty, F. & Schlesser, M. A. (1981) Plasma GABA in affective illness. Journal of Affective Disorders, 3, 334–43.
Sherman, A. D. & Petty, F. (1980) Neurochemical basis of the action of antidepressants on learned helplessness. Behavioral and Neural Biology, 30, 119–34.

Plasma and CSF Gaba in Affective Illness

  • Wade H. Berrettini (a1), John I. Nurnberger (a2), Theodore Hare (a3), Elliott S. Gershon (a4) and Robert M. Post (a5)...


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.

Plasma and CSF Gaba in Affective Illness

  • Wade H. Berrettini (a1), John I. Nurnberger (a2), Theodore Hare (a3), Elliott S. Gershon (a4) and Robert M. Post (a5)...
Submit a response


No eLetters have been published for this article.


Reply to: Submit a response

Your details

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *