Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

2020 Edition
| Editors: Marc D. Gellman

Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA)

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-39903-0_1404


Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system of humans and other mammals. GABA is a highly polar and flexible molecule that is formed from glutamate in enzymatic reaction that causes its release into the synapse where it is inactivated by reuptake into glia cells (Chebib and Johnston 1999). GABA transmission within the central nervous system modulates noradrenergic, dopaminergic, and serotonergic neurons which ultimately influences behavior and mood (Brambilla et al. 2003; Emrich et al. 1980). A deficiency of GABA has been associated with a variety of neuropsychiatric disorders, including mood disorders, anxiety, panic, addiction, and schizophrenia, and neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s chorea. More recently, GABA has been studied as a mediating factor in the transmission and perception of pain (Enna and McCarson 2006). GABA is also directly associated with the...

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References and Readings

  1. Brambilla, P., Perez, J., Barale, F., Schettini, G., & Soares, J. C. (2003). GABAergic dysfunction in mood disorders. Molecular Psychiatry, 8, 721–737.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Chebib, M., & Johnston, G. A. (1999). The “ABC” of GABA receptors: A brief review. Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology, 26(11), 937–940.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
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  4. Enna, S. J., & McCarson, K. E. (2006). The role of GABA in the mediation and perception of pain. Advanced Pharmacology, 54, 1–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of NursingUniversity of MarylandBaltimoreUSA