A GABA-EEG test of the blood-brain barrier near epileptic foci

Appl Neurophysiol. 1983;46(5-6):276-85. doi: 10.1159/000101274.


The permeability of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) to gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the region of an epileptic focus may be assessed by infusing GABA and measuring a change in epileptic spike activity on the EEG. GABA does not cross the normal BBB but will suppress epileptic spike activity when it does cross where the BBB is damaged. 9 alumina-cobalt experimental epileptic foci were all initially suppressible, but 7 then became unsuppressible . When the foci were irradiated to lower the BBB, all 7 became temporarily suppressible. The experiments demonstrate that (1) epileptic foci can be equally active both with the BBB 'open' and 'closed'; (2) the intravenous GABA-EEG test can detect whether the BBB near the epileptic focus is open to GABA, and (3) anatomic tests of BBB integrity (in these experiments intravenous trypan blue) cannot determine if whether BBB near the focus is 'open' to GABA. Since the intravenous GABA-EEG test reveals the permeability of the BBB in the immediate environment of the epileptic focus, it may be very useful in the selection of a susceptible therapeutic group for inhibitory amino acid therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood-Brain Barrier* / radiation effects
  • Cats
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Epilepsy / blood*
  • Epilepsy / drug therapy
  • Evoked Potentials / drug effects
  • Female
  • Parietal Lobe / drug effects
  • Parietal Lobe / metabolism
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / blood*
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / therapeutic use


  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid