Sleep-promoting effects of a GABA/5-HTP mixture: Behavioral changes and neuromodulation in an invertebrate model

Ki Bae Hong, Yooheon Park, Hyung Joo Suh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)


Aims This study was to investigate the sleep promoting effects of combined γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), by examining neuronal processes governing mRNA level alterations, as well as assessing neuromodulator concentrations, in a fruit fly model. Main methods Behavioral assays were applied to investigate subjective nighttime activity, sleep episodes, and total duration of subjective nighttime sleep of two amino acids and GABA/5-HTP mixture with caffeine treated flies. Also, real-time PCR and HPLC analysis were applied to analyze the signaling pathway. Key findings Subjective nighttime activity and sleep patterns of individual flies significantly decreased with 1% GABA treatment in conjunction with 0.1% 5-HTP treatment (p <0.001). Furthermore, GABA/5-HTP mixture resulted in significant differences between groups related to sleep patterns (40%, p <0.017) and significantly induced subjective nighttime sleep in the awake model (p <0.003). These results related to transcript levels of the GABAB receptor (GABAB-R1) and serotonin receptor (5-HT1A), compared to the control group. In addition, GABA/5-HTP mixture significantly increased GABA levels 1 h and 12 h following treatment (2.1 fold and 1.2 fold higher than the control, respectively) and also increased 5-HTP levels (0 h: 1.01 μg/protein, 12 h: 3.45 μg/protein). Significance In this regard, we successfully demonstrated that using a GABA/5-HTP mixture modulates subjective nighttime activity, sleep episodes, and total duration of subjective nighttime sleep to a greater extent than single administration of each amino acid, and that this modulation occurs via GABAergic and serotonergic signaling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-49
Number of pages8
JournalLife Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Apr 1



  • 5-Hydroxytryptophan
  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • Insomnia
  • Sleep
  • γ-Aminobutyric acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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