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April 1982

Central Nervous System γ-Aminobutyric Acid Activity in Man: Relationship to Age and Sex as Reflected in CSF

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Pharmacology (Drs Hare and Manyam) and Neurology (Dr Manyam), Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia; the Division of Neurosurgery, Emory University Clinic, Atlanta (Dr Wood); the Neurology Service, Veterans Administration Medical and Regional Office Center, Wilmington, Del (Dr Manyam); the Department of Psychiatry, University of California, Los Angeles (Dr Gerner); and the Biological Psychiatry Branch, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Md (Drs Ballenger and Post). Dr Ballenger is now with the Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville.

Arch Neurol. 1982;39(4):247-249. doi:10.1001/archneur.1982.00510160053012

• Central nervous system γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) activity was demonstrated to be an age- and sex-dependent phenomenon through the study of GABA concentration in lumbar CSF obtained from 87 drug-free normal individuals. Evaluation of the data from homogeneous subgroups of this population disclosed that both the propensity of lumbar CSF GABA levels to decrease with age and the magnitude of the rostrocaudal GABA concentration gradient are more pronounced in females, suggesting possible neuroendocrine involvement. Thus, age and sex are important variables that normally influence central GABAergic activity. Patient populations included in clinical investigations must be age- and sex-matched to avoid invalid conclusions biased by these physiologic variations in CSF GABA concentrations.

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