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December 1986

Diazepam-Binding InhibitorA Brain Neuropeptide Present in Human Spinal Fluid: Studies in Depression, Schizophrenia, and Alzheimer's Disease

Author Affiliations

From the Fidia Georgetown Institute for the Neurosciences, Washington, DC (Drs Barbaccia, Costa, and Guidotti); the Division of Intramural Research, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md (Drs Roy, Sunderland, Pickar, Paul, and Goodwin); and the Clinica Neurologica Universita' di Torino, Italy (Dr Ferrero).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1986;43(12):1143-1147. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1986.01800120029007

• Diazepam-binding inhibitor is a novel peptide purified to homogeneity from rat and human brain. Diazepam-binding inhibitor is present, though not exclusively, in γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)—containing neurons where it is believed to inhibit GABAergic neurotransmission mediated by GABA by binding to the benzodiazepine-GABA receptor complex. Since an impairment of central GABAergic tone has been postulated to be associated with a number of neuropsychiatric disorders, we measured human diazepam-binding inhibitor immunoreactivity in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of patients suffering from endogenous depression, schizophrenia, and dementia of the Alzheimer's type. Patients with major depression had significantly higher concentrations of human diazepam-binding inhibitor immunoreactivity in CSF when compared with age- and sex-matched normal volunteers, while no difference in CSF diazepam-binding inhibitor immunoreactivity was found in schizophrenics or patients with dementia of the Alzheimer's type when compared with controls. The possibility is discussed that the increased CSF human diazepam-binding inhibitor immunoreactivity observed in depressed patients may represent a functional disinhibition of GABAergic neurotransmission associated with depression.