Direct effect of 2-palmitoyl glycerol on promotion of gamma aminobutyric acid synthesis in normal human fetal-derived astrocytes

FEBS Open Bio. 2023 Jul;13(7):1320-1332. doi: 10.1002/2211-5463.13649. Epub 2023 May 24.


Breast milk contains constituents, such as 1,3-dioleoyl-2-palmitoylglycerol (OPO), that are beneficial for infants. Herein, we hypothesized that 2-palmitoyl glycerol (2-PG), a derivative of OPO, is advantageous to infants' development. Gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a major neurotransmitter involved in neural development. Although GABA is generally known to be produced in neurons, astrocytes can also produce it in immature brains. In this study, we used expression analysis techniques to show that 2-PG upregulates the mRNA and protein expression of glutamate decarboxylases (GAD1 and GAD2) in normal human fetal-derived astrocytes. Our data suggest that 2-PG promotes GABA synthesis in astrocytes, which may contribute to brain development because GABA is involved in neural development in the developing brain. This may help to elucidate the mechanism by which breast milk affects infant brain development.

Keywords: 1,3-dioleoyl-2-palmitoylglycerol; astrocytes; brain development; breast milk; gamma aminobutyric acid metabolism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Astrocytes* / metabolism
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Neurons* / metabolism
  • Pregnancy
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / pharmacology


  • palmitoyl glycerol
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid