Navigation Links
Preclinical inquiry into 1 mutation sheds light on addiction and a birth defect

DURHAM, N.C. -- When a certain protein is mutated or missing, symptoms of the neurodevelopmental disorder Rett syndrome arise, causing a gradual loss of brain function during early development.

This fact led Duke University Medical Center researchers to test a theory that the protein might also contribute to nerve-cell connection (synapse) changes in a fully formed adult mouse brain when exposed to psychostimulant use.

In two experiments with mice, Anne West, M.D., Ph.D., an assistant professor of neurobiology, and Duke colleagues found that virally manipulating levels of the methyl-binding protein MeCP2 in the brains of adult mice affected their place preference, a measure of the rewarding properties of the amphetamines the mice consumed in that location. The mice that had less of the MeCP2 protein kept returning to the same location in hope of getting more of the drug.

The study was published Aug. 15 in Nature Neuroscience.

Scientists have speculated that psychostimulant drugs make long-lasting changes to synapses that lead to addictive types of behavior. When the researchers changed the expression levels of MeCP2, they noticed a proportional relationship.

"The body may increase MeCP2 as a way to reset the reward threshold," West said. "You decrease the sense of reward when you increase MeCP2. It might be the body's compensation and way to maintain balance."

These studies show that MeCP2 is involved in the process through which repeated amphetamine use changes both the structure and the function of the brain, West said.

"Until now, nobody had experimentally linked MeCP2 to the effects of stimulant drugs," West said. "I was surprised that subtle manipulations of the protein in adult mice had effects on behavior that were profound. In addition there are multiple effects of losing MeCP2 in mutant mice and we could see the effects on brain development in the young mice."

The study suggests that the methyl-DNA binding protein MeCP2 is important in regulating the rewarding properties of psychostimulant drugs, which may lead to treatments for people who overuse stimulants, West said.

"MeCP2 is a transcriptional regulator that responds to an extracellular stimulus like an amphetamine, and we showed that it can modulate synapses in the part of the brain (nucleus accumbens) that is responsible for reward," she said.

She said the next step is to learn what is happening on a molecular level to cause these effects.


Contact: Mary Jane Gore
Duke University Medical Center

Related medicine news :

1. Kineta Awarded NIH Grant to Complete Preclinical Studies on Type 1 Diabetes / Multiple Sclerosis Drug Candidate
2. Targeted agent blocked growth of deadly brain cancer in preclinical studies
3. BRAF inhibitor shows promising preclinical activity against melanoma
4. Jill Greenfield Comments on the Numerous Failings Highlighted by the Griffin Inquiry into Godstone Farm E.Coli 0157 Outbreak
5. Single gene mutation induces endometrial cancer
6. Genetic Mutation Linked to Prostate Cancer in Blacks
7. Gene Mutations Identified for Charcot-Marie-Tooth Syndrome
8. Study shows that mutations in 1 gene cause many cancers
9. Parkinsons Linked to Genetic Mutation
10. Breast cancer patients with BRCA mutations 4 times more likely to get cancer in opposite breast
11. Gene Mutations Up Risk for Cancer in Opposite Breast
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/27/2015)... , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... the toilets were," said an inventor from Hillside, N.J. "Many people catch diseases ... cover so that individuals will always be protected from germs." , He developed ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... MPWH, the No.1 Herpes-only dating community in the world, revealed ... 1-1 ). More than 3.7 billion people under the age of 50 – or ... to WHO's first global estimates of HSV-1 infection . , "The data shocks us ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... Secura Consultants has prided itself for not only fulfilling the needs of advisers ... solutions at an affordable price and providing top-tier customer service. However, there's always ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... Dr. Thomas Dunlap and Dr. ... Tucker Bierbaum with Emergency Medicine at St., Joseph Health System’s Santa Rosa Memorial ... conditions present in similar ways and require time-critical intervention to avoid large area heart ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... ... Inevitably when people think Thanksgiving, they also think Holiday sales and start ... and Cyber Monday massage chair sales to receive the best pricing on ... find the best massage chair deals, they can see all of the coupons in ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... , November 26, 2015 ... of the "Radioimmunoassay Market by Type ... Pharmaceutical Industry, Academics, Clinical Diagnostic Labs), Application ... Forecast to 2020" report to their ... announced the addition of the "Radioimmunoassay ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ) ... "Global Brain Monitoring Devices Market 2015-2019" ... ) has announced the addition of ... 2015-2019" report to their offering. ... ) has announced the addition of the ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... OAKS, Calif. , Nov. 25, 2015  Amgen ... a Biologics License Application (BLA) with the ... (FDA) for ABP 501, a biosimilar candidate to Humira ... first adalimumab biosimilar application submitted to the FDA and ... pathway. Sean E. Harper , M.D., executive ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: