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York U autism-related study discovers how drug interferes with neuronal cell function
Date:7/7/2010

safely for other purposes such as treatment and prevention of gastrointestinal ulcers. However, during early neuronal development the drug misoprostol or other environmental factors such as infections or inflammations, which can also increase the level of prostaglandins, may interfere with normal brain function, says Crawford.

Crawford and Tamiji focused on the drug misoprostol because they had evidence from the clinical studies of the neurotoxic effects of the drug. They used misoprostol and the naturally occurring prostaglandins side by side in their study and found that both compounds produced the same effects on neuronal cell function.

The study shows that misoprostol interferes with the prostaglandin pathway in a dose-dependent manner in other words, the higher the dose, the greater the problems created.

"What that indicates to us is whether it is infection that will activate it, or whether it is the drug, it will cause the same effect," says Crawford.

Now that it has been shown that misoprostol affects interaction between cells, the next step will be to do animal studies on mice to examine the physiological impacts on particular parts of the brain, she says.

Crawford's lab is one of very few in the world that has adopted a multidisciplinary approach to the study of autism spectrum disorders, using molecular techniques to understand the link between causative biological factors (genes and environment) and the behavioural expression.


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Contact: Janice Walls
wallsj@yorku.ca
416-736-2100 x22101
York University
Source:Eurekalert

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