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Psychopharmacol Bull. 1993;29(2):277-81.

Plasma gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is low in alcoholics.

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  • 1Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Psychiatry Service, Dallas, TX 75216.


Plasma levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) were measured in male alcoholics on admission to inpatient treatment and at discharge after 3 to 4 weeks of abstinence. Free plasma GABA at discharge was significantly lower in alcoholics than in control subjects and specifically identified a subset of 35 percent of the alcoholic patients with levels below the normal range. However, levels of free plasma GABA in recently detoxified alcoholics on admission were not different from those of controls and had a significant positive correlation with liver enzymes and mean corpuscular volume. These data are compatible with a GABA deficit theory of alcoholism in a subset of alcoholics.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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