What does GABA Do in the Brain?
|What does GABA Do in the Brain?||Darrell Miller||11/02/11|
November 02, 2011 07:41 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: What does GABA Do in the Brain?
GABA or Gamma Amino Butyric Acid is a neurotransmitter of the brain. It is considered to be the main inhibitory brain chemical among mammals. In ordinary terms, it significantly regulates the firing of impulses by the neurons. This chemical is naturally produced by the brain and generally acts as a balancer together with other neurotransmitters. This neurotransmitter has a key role in the regulation of nerve excitability all throughout the nervous system. It effectively maintains the equilibrium of the body and the brain in excitation status. Chemically speaking, GABA is classified as an amino acid. However, GABA is not a building block of protein like the other amino acids. This is the reason why in the medical field, GABA is rarely considered as an amino acid.
Moreover, GABA is the prime brain chemical responsible for the regulation of muscle tone among humans. In a disorder called Spastic Diplegia, the absorption of GABA into the muscles is weakened because of damage nervous tissues and cells. This would significantly lead to hypertonic muscles in which the muscles will experience spasms and can not anymore recognize and process the neurotransmitter GABA. On the other hand, GABA in insects acts as both inhibitory and excitatory neurotransmitter.
As mentioned above, GABA is an inhibitory neurochemical. It functions at the inhibitory synapses of the brain by attaching to receptor sites in the plasma membrane of both pre – and post – synaptic nerves. Once GABA has bind with the receptor sites, it will cause the ion channels to open and permit either the entry of chloride ion which has a negative charge or exit of potassium ion which has a positive charge. Potassium is the main electrolyte inside the cell. This opening of ion channels will then cause the cell to be either hyperpolarized or re – polarized.
During brain development, GABA also plays a significant role. It significantly controls the proliferation of brain progenitor cells and development of synapses as well as the differentiation and maturation of neurites. Furthermore, GABA is also responsible for the growth and development of embryonic and nerve stem cells. It also activates GABA receptors which lead to the halting of cell cycling in the S – phase. As a result, this will limit the growth of cell thus preventing abnormal growth and even malignancies.
If GABA is in inadequate level, muscle tone is disturbed making it always tensed and the mind will keep on working and working because there is no brain chemical to stop it. Therefore, GABA must be importantly maintained within normal limits.
GABA is naturally produced by nerve cells. However, GABA supplement is now available so that adequate amount of such brain chemical will be administered to the body as needed. GABA supplements can enhance the sleep onset and quality. It can also provide a relaxing feeling and reduce stress and muscle over – activity. Other theories also state that it can regulate mood and behavior thus promoting the total well – being of the person. Ongoing studies are being conducted to show more evidence on GABA’s effect with Human Growth Hormones.