Pharmacopsychiatry 2003; 36 - 184
DOI: 10.1055/s-2003-825435

Modulation of GABAergic systems with GABA agonists and antagonists, effects on sleep EEG and hormone secretion

S Mathias 1
  • 1Max-Planck-Institute of Psychiatry, Munich, Germany

There is much evidence that γ-aminobutyric acidA (GABAA) receptors play an important role in the regulation of sleep. Several compounds that affect GABAA receptor functioning are well known to induce pronounced changes in sleep wake behaviour. Analysis of effects of such substances on sleep EEG may give insight into the involvement of GABAA receptors in the initiation and maintenance of sleep. Recent studies demonstrated that GABA analogues and selective GABAA receptor agonists exert distinct effects on sleep that differ substantially from those evoked by agonistic modulators of the GABAA receptors, which includes benzodiazepine hypnotics. Furthermore, data received from animal research and human studies indicate a bidirectional interaction between sleep structure and nocturnal hormone secretion.