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July 1982

Low CSF γ-Aminobutyric Acid Levels in Parkinson's Disease: Effect of Levodopa and Carbidopa

Author Affiliations

From the Neurology Service, Veterans Administration Medical and Regional Office Center, Wilmington, Del, and the Departments of Neurology and Pharmacology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia.

Arch Neurol. 1982;39(7):391-392. doi:10.1001/archneur.1982.00510190009002

• Levels of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in CSF were measured in patients with Parkinson's disease (n = 14) and sex-matched controls (n = 14). One patient underwent a spinal tap before and after treatment. The mean (± SD) CSF GABA levels were 200 ± 70 pmole/mL in controls and 121 ± 52 pmole/mL in patients with Parkinson's disease. In the untreated patients with Parkinson's disease, the CSF GABA level was 95 ± 31 pmole/mL (n = 7) and in those who were treated with levodopa and carbidopa the level was 144 ± 53 pmole/mL (n = 8). No significant difference was seen in plasma GABA levels between the controls and patients with Parkinson's disease. The decreased GABA level in CSF, which was elevated by levodopa, supports the concept that in Parkinson's disease, the GABA-dopamine interaction in the substantia nigra may be an important compensatory mechanism counteracting the dopamine neuronal loss.

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