Program in Molecular Medicine
Preclinical studies show that GABA exerts anti-diabetic effects in rodent models of type 1 diabetes. Because little is known about its absorption and effects in humans, we investigated the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of GABA in healthy volunteers. Twelve subjects were subjected to an open-labeled, three-period trial involving sequential oral administration of placebo, 2 g GABA once, and 2 g GABA three times/day for 7 days, with a 7-day washout between each period. GABA was rapidly absorbed (Tmax: 0.5 ~ 1 h) with the half-life (t1/2) of 5 h. No accumulation was observed after repeated oral GABA administration for 7 days. Remarkably, GABA significantly increased circulating insulin levels in the subjects under either fasting (1.6-fold, single dose; 2.0-fold, repeated dose; p < 0.01) or fed conditions (1.4-fold, single dose; 1.6-fold, repeated dose; p < 0.01). GABA also increased glucagon levels only under fasting conditions (1.3-fold, single dose, p < 0.05; 1.5-fold, repeated dose, p < 0.01). However, there were no significant differences in the insulin-to-glucagon ratio and no significant change in glucose levels in these healthy subjects during the study period. Importantly, GABA significantly decreased glycated albumin levels in the repeated dosing period. Subjects with repeated dosing showed an elevated incidence of minor adverse events in comparison to placebo or the single dosing period, most notably transient discomforts such as dizziness and sore throat. However, there were no serious adverse events observed throughout the study. Our data show that GABA is rapidly absorbed and tolerated in human beings; its endocrine effects, exemplified by increasing islet hormonal secretion, suggest potential therapeutic benefits for diabetes.
GABA, glucagon, glycated albumin, insulin, pharmacokinetics
Rights and Permissions
Copyright © 2015 Li, Zhang, Liu, Wang, Mao, Mao, Lu, Jiang, Wan, Lv, Cao, Zhang, Zhao, Atkinson, Greiner, Prud'homme, Jiao, Li and Wang. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
DOI of Published Version
Front Pharmacol. 2015 Nov 10;6:260. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2015.00260. eCollection 2015. Link to article on publisher's site
Frontiers in pharmacology
Li J, Zhang Z, Liu X, Wang Y, Mao F, Mao J, Lu X, Jiang D, Wan Y, Lv J, Cao G, Zhang J, Zhao N, Atkinson M, Greiner DL, Prud'homme GJ, Jiao Z, Li Y, Wang Q. (2015). Study of GABA in Healthy Volunteers: Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics. Open Access Articles. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2015.00260. Retrieved from https://escholarship.umassmed.edu/oapubs/2682
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.