GABA -->
gamma-aminobutyric acid
medical dictionary

<biochemistry> An important amino acid which functions as the most prevalent inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system.

Gamma aminobutyric acid works in partnership with a derivative of Vitamin B-6, pyridoxine, to cross from the axons to the dendrites through the synaptic cleft, in response to an electrical signal in the neurone and inhibits message transmission. This helps control the nerve cells from firing too fast, which would overload the system.

The action of gamma aminobutyric acid decreases epileptic seizures and muscle spasms by inhibiting electrical signals in this manner. Studies have shown that the site of action in the brain of benzodiazepams, including Valium, is directly coupled to the brain receptor for gamma-aminobutyric acid.

Acronym: GABA

(05 Jan 1998)

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