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J. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 2007; 17(10): 1661-1669

Published online October 28, 2007

Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a non-protein amino acid. It is well known for its role as an inhibitory neurotransmitter of developing and operating nervous systems in brains. In this study, a novel function of GABA in the healing process of cutaneous wounds was presented regarding anti-inflammation and fibroblast cell proliferation. The cell proliferation activity of GABA was verified through an MTT assay using murine fibroblast NIH3T3 cells. It was observed that GABA significantly inhibited the mRNA expression of iNOS, IL-$1{\beta}$, and TNF-${\alpha}$ in LPS-stimulated RAW 264.7 cells. To evaluate in vivo activity of GABA in wound healing, excisional open wounds were made on the dorsal sides of Sprague-Dawley rats under anesthesia, and the healing of the wounds was apparently assessed. The molecular aspects of the healing process were also investigated by hematoxylineosin staining of the healed skin, displaying the degrees of re-epithelialization and linear alignment of the granulation tissue, and immunostaining and RT-PCR analyses of fibroblast growth factor and platelet-derived growth factor, implying extracellular matrix synthesis and remodeling of the skin. The GABA treatment was effective to accelerate the healing process by suppressing inflammation and stimulating re-epithelialization, compared with the epidermal growth factor treatment. The healing effect of GABA was remarkable at the early stage of wound healing, which resulted in significant reduction of the whole healing period.