Plasma GABA levels correlate with aggressiveness in relatives of patients with unipolar depressive disorder

James M. Bjork, F. Gerard Moeller, Gerald L. Kramer, Martin Kram, Alina Suris, A. John Rush, Frederick Petty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

77 Scopus citations

Abstract

Plasma gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels are decreased in some patients with depression, mania and alcoholism. Medications which increase plasma GABA improve symptoms of mood disorders and can decrease aggression. We examined the relationship between plasma GABA and aggressiveness on the Buss-Durkee Hostility Inventory in 77 psychiatrically healthy adults. In subjects selected for having a first-degree relative with primary unipolar depressive disorder (FH +, n = 33), plasma GABA was negatively correlated with aggressiveness (beta = -0.338, P = 0.036), as was age (beta = -0.483, P = 0.005). A relationship between plasma GABA levels and aggressiveness was not observed in subjects with no such family history (FH-, n = 44). Moreover, FH + subjects had significantly lower plasma GABA concentrations than FH - subjects. These data suggest that low GABA levels may correlate with some aspects of aggressiveness and may be genetically regulated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-136
Number of pages6
JournalPsychiatry research
Volume101
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 25 2001

    Fingerprint

Keywords

  • Aggression
  • Biological markers
  • GABA
  • Hostility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

Cite this

Bjork, J. M., Moeller, F. G., Kramer, G. L., Kram, M., Suris, A., Rush, A. J., & Petty, F. (2001). Plasma GABA levels correlate with aggressiveness in relatives of patients with unipolar depressive disorder. Psychiatry research, 101(2), 131-136. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0165-1781(01)00220-7