Sleep-promoting effects of the GABA/5-HTP mixture in vertebrate models

Behav Brain Res. 2016 Sep 1;310:36-41. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2016.04.049. Epub 2016 May 2.


The aim of this study was to investigate the sleep-promoting effect of combined γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) on sleep quality and quantity in vertebrate models. Pentobarbital-induced sleep test and electroencephalogram (EEG) analysis were applied to investigate sleep latency, duration, total sleeping time and sleep quality of two amino acids and GABA/5-HTP mixture. In addition, real-time PCR and HPLC analysis were applied to analyze the signaling pathway. The GABA/5-HTP mixture significantly regulated the sleep latency, duration (p<0.005), and also increased the sleep quality than single administration of the amino acids (p<0.000). Long-term administration increased the transcript levels of GABAA receptor (1.37-fold, p<0.000) and also increased the GABA content compared with the control group 12h after administration (1.43-fold, p<0.000). Our available evidence suggests that the GABA/5-HTP mixture modulates both GABAergic and serotonergic signaling. Moreover, the sleep architecture can be controlled by the regulation of GABAA receptor and GABA content with 5-HTP.

Keywords: 5-Hydroxytryptophan; Electroencephalogram; Pentobarbital; Sleep; Vertebrate; γ-Aminobutyric acid.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 5-Hydroxytryptophan / pharmacology*
  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Electroencephalography
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / pharmacology*
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Models, Animal
  • Pentobarbital / pharmacology
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, GABA-A / metabolism
  • Sleep / drug effects*
  • Time Factors
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / pharmacology*


  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, GABA-A
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • 5-Hydroxytryptophan
  • Pentobarbital