Navigation Links
Autism-related protein shown to play vital role in addiction
Date:5/9/2014

BELMONT - In a paper published in the latest issue of the neuroscience journal Neuron, McLean Hospital investigators report that a gene essential for normal brain development, and previously linked to Autism Spectrum Disorders, also plays a critical role in addiction-related behaviors.

"In our lab, we investigate the brain mechanisms behind drug addiction a common and devastating disease with limited treatment options," explained Christopher Cowan, PhD, director of the Integrated Neurobiology Laboratory at McLean and an associate professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. "Chronic exposure to drugs of abuse causes changes in the brain that could underlie the transition from casual drug use to addiction. By discovering the brain molecules that control the development of drug addiction, we hope to identify new treatment approaches."

The Cowan lab team, led by Laura Smith, PhD, an instructor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, used animal models to show that the fragile X mental retardation protein, or FMRP, plays a critical role in the development of addiction-related behaviors. FMRP is also the protein that is missing in Fragile X Syndrome, the leading single-gene cause of autism and intellectual disability. Consistent with its important role in brain function, the team found that cocaine utilizes FMRP to facilitate brain changes involved in addiction-related behaviors.

Cowan, whose work tends to focus on identifying novel genes related to conditions such as autism and drug addiction, explained that FMRP controls the remodeling and strength of connections in the brain during normal development. Their current findings reveal that FMRP plays a critical role in the changes in brain connections that occur following repeated cocaine exposure.

"We know that experiences are able to modify the brain in important ways. Some of these brain changes help us, by allowing us to learn and remember. Other changes are harmful, such as those that occur in individuals struggling with drug abuse," noted Cowan and Smith. "While FMRP allows individuals to learn and remember things in their environment properly, it also controls how the brain responds to cocaine and ends up strengthening drug behaviors. By better understanding FMRP's role in this process, we may someday be able to suggest effective therapeutic options to prevent or reverse these changes."


'/>"/>

Contact: Scott O'Brien
sobrien12@partners.org
617-855-2110
McLean Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. MedicAlert Foundation Announces GPS Product to Address Autism-Related Wandering
2. Warwick scientists uncover how checkpoint proteins bind chromosomes
3. Specific protein triggers changes in neurons in brain reward center linked to cocaine addiction
4. Unusual protein helps regulate key cell communication pathway
5. Protein prevents DNA damage in the developing brain and might serve as a tumor suppressor
6. RANK protein promotes the initiation, progression and metastasis of human breast cancer
7. Protein may represent a switch to turn off B cell lymphoma
8. Protein RAL associated with aggressive characteristics in prostate, bladder and skin cancers
9. Breast cancer clinical trial tests combo of heat shock protein inhibitor and hormonal therapy
10. Pivotal role for proteins -- from helping turn carbs into energy to causing devastating disease
11. New molecular structure offers first picture of a protein family vital to human health
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... As health professionals work to improve ... engagement.” The patient is doing more than filling out a survey; in many cases ... an increasing emphasis in health care and research on the importance of active engagement ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... Ky. (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... The ... MPH to become its next President and Chief Executive Officer, succeeding Dr. James C. ... CEO Elect beginning July 1, 2018 until Dr. Puffer’s retirement at the end of ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... PurhealthRX , a leading Health ... technology. Applying the Purzorb™process to full spectrum CBD oil will revolutionize the rapidly growing ... form that can be easily incorporated into liquid products, while reducing costs to end ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... QUEENS, N.Y (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... recently became a member of ElderCounsel, a national organization of elder law and special ... constantly changing laws and rules. It also provides a forum to network with elder ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... OBISPO, Calif. (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... or dementia. However, many long-term care insurance companies have a waiver for care if ... the 90-day elimination period, when the family pays for care, is often waived, so ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... 11, 2017  Caris Life Sciences ® , a ... promise of precision medicine, today announced that St. Jude ... Oncology Alliance™ (POA) as its 17 th member. ... Jude Crosson Cancer Institute will help develop standards of ... tumor profiling, making cancer treatment more precise and effective. ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... EXTON, Pa. , Oct. 10, 2017   ... leader in innovative solutions for injectable drug administration, today ... of West,s ID Adapter for improving the intradermal administration ... the Fourth Skin Vaccination Summit in May 2017 by ... Team Lead, Polio Department, World Health Organization (WHO), and ...
(Date:10/4/2017)... -- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), influenza ... Care is helping communities across Massachusetts , ... no-cost* flu shots through the end of the month. *Some ... ... flu shot is by the end of October, according to the Centers ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: