GABA and Schizophrenia


GABA (gamma-Amniobutyric acid) is a neurotransmitter that is synthesized in the brain and plays an important role in the central nervous system. While dopamine is the neurotransmitter most often implicated in schizophrenia, there is a growing body of research suggesting that alterations in the GABA neurotransmitter system may also have something to do with the pathophysiology of schizophrenia.

In particular, deficits in the GABA system have been linked to the symptoms of cognitive dysfunction that are found in schizophrenia patients, with studies showing that schizophrenia patients tend to have reduced GABA concentration in areas of their brain. A GABA deficiency can lead to symptoms such as confusion and irritability, both symptoms also associated with schizophrenia.

The precise role GABA plays in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia is not entirely clear. GABA appears to have an effect on regulation of dopamine levels in the brain, so it's possible that the GABA-dopamine interaction is responsible for some symptoms of the disease. Studies on GABA and schizophrenia continue to be conducted, and at least one new schizophrenia medication targeting GABA as well as dopamine is the works.

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