Plant Foods for Human Nutrition

, Volume 71, Issue 4, pp 355–360 | Cite as

Three-Step Test System for the Identification of Novel GABAA Receptor Modulating Food Plants

  • Sümeyye Sahin
  • Volker Eulenburg
  • Wolfgang Kreis
  • Carmen Villmann
  • Monika Pischetsrieder
Original Paper


Potentiation of γ-amino butyric acid (GABA)-induced GABAA receptor (GABAAR) activation is a common pathway to achieve sedative, sleep-enhancing, anxiolytic, and antidepressant effects. Presently, a three-component test system was established for the identification of novel GABAAR modulating food plants. In the first step, potentiation of GABA-induced response of the GABAAR was analysed by two-electrode voltage clamp (TEVC) for activity on human α1β2-GABAAR expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes. Positively tested food plants were then subjected to quantification of GABA content by high-performance liquid chromatography with fluorescence detection (HPLC–FLD) to exclude test foods, which evoke a TEVC-response by endogenous GABA. In the third step, specificity of GABAA-modulating activity was assessed by TEVC analysis of Xenopus laevis oocytes expressing the homologous glycine receptor (GlyR). The three-component test was then applied to screen 10 aqueous extracts of food plants for their GABAAR activity. Thus, hop cones (Humulus lupulus) and Sideritis sipylea were identified as the most potent specific GABAAR modulators eliciting significant potentiation of the current by 182 ± 27 and 172 ± 19 %, respectively, at the lowest concentration of 0.5 μg/mL. The extracts can now be further evaluated by in vivo studies and by structural evaluation of the active components.


GABAA receptor GABA Glycine receptor Sideritis Lemon balm leaves Hop cones 



The scholarship grant by the Turkish Ministry of National Education for S. S. is gratefully acknowledged. We thank Hilal Sahin-Nadeem, Akdeniz University, for supplying Sideritis samples, Christoph Korbmacher from the Institute of Cellular and Molecular Physiology, FAU for providing Xenopus oocytes, Gabriele Fischer for performing the TLC analysis, and Christine Meißner for proof-reading the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The scholarship grant by the Turkish Ministry of National Education for Sümeyye Sahin is gratefully acknowledged.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects.

Supplementary material

11130_2016_566_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (207 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 207 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sümeyye Sahin
    • 1
  • Volker Eulenburg
    • 2
  • Wolfgang Kreis
    • 3
  • Carmen Villmann
    • 4
  • Monika Pischetsrieder
    • 1
  1. 1.Food Chemistry Unit, Department of Chemistry and Pharmacy, Emil Fischer CenterFriedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU)ErlangenGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Biochemistry, Emil Fischer CenterFriedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU)ErlangenGermany
  3. 3.Department of BiologyFriedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU)ErlangenGermany
  4. 4.Institute for Clinical NeurobiologyUniversitätsklinikum WürzburgWürzburgGermany

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