Colonic Bacteria: A Source of γ-Aminobutyric Acid in Blood (41169)

Daniel F. Schafer, Jeffrey M. Fowler, E. Anthony Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Blood contains more of the major inhibitory neurotransmitter, γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), than does cerebrospinal fluid. However, the source and physiologic importance of this compound in the peripheral circulation are unknown. We have found that blood drawn from the portal vein of normal rabbits contains twice the concentration of GABA as that drawn simultaneously from the abdominal aorta. Also, human-derived colonic bacteria grown anaerobically secreted a large amount of GABA equivalents into culture media when measured by a radioreceptor technique. The production of inhibitory neuroactive substances, such as GABA, by colonic bacteria may play a role in the pathogenesis of certain disease states, for example, hepatic encephalopathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)301-303
Number of pages3
JournalProceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1981
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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