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Plasma and CSF Gaba in Affective Illness

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 January 2018

Wade H. Berrettini*
Bldg. 10, Rm. 3N218, NIMH, 9000 Rockvilie Pike, Bethesda, Maryland 20205, USA
John I. Nurnberger Jr.
Section on Psychogenetics, Biological Psychiatry Branch, NIMH
Theodore Hare
Department of Pharmacology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennyslvania 19107
Elliott S. Gershon
Biological Psychiatry Branch, NIMH
Robert M. Post
Section on Psychobiology, Biological Psychiatry Branch, NIMH


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.

Research Article
Copyright © Royal College of Psychiatrists, 1982 

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