Navigation Links
Research Shows Way for Drug Therapy for Autism

Indian neuroscientists are part of an international team that has for the first time reversed symptoms of mental retardation and autism in mice, raising hopes of drug therapy for this disorder that affects one in 500 children.

Researchers at the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) and National Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience (NIMHANS) in Bangalore have contributed to the breakthrough, reported this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (US).

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US and Seoul National University in South Korea are part of the team.

Autism is a developmental disorder characterised by varying degrees of deficiencies in communication skills and social interactions, along with restricted, repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behaviour.

A strain of mice, genetically engineered by the Nobel laureate Susumu Tonegawa and colleagues at MIT, were manipulated to model "fragile X syndrome (FXS)", the leading inherited cause of mental retardation and the most common genetic cause of autism.

"The condition, tied to a mutated gene in the X chromosome, causes mild learning disabilities to severe autism," researcher Sumantra Chatterji at NCBS told IANS. Presently, there is no effective treatment for FXS and other types of autism affecting all races and ethnic groups, he said.

"Our findings have identified a specific enzyme in the brain, called p21-activated kinase (PAK), as a potential target for drugs that may reverse many of the debilitating symptoms of FXS, and possibly autism, in children.

"The enzyme PAK affects the number, size and shape of connections between neurons in the brain," he said.

In the brain, these connections between neurons are formed by small protrusions called "spines", which are spread on branches of neurons called "dendrites". The numbers and shapes of dendrit ic spines are crucial for normal brain function.

FXS patients have higher numbers of dendritic spines in their brains, but each spine is longer and thinner than in normal individuals.

"Our analysis shows that inhibition of PAK activity reverses the structural abnormality of neuronal connections seen in FXS mice," said Shankaranarayana Rao of NIMHANS, who was part of the study.

In addition to structural problems, these abnormal connections between neurons transmit weaker electric signals in FXS mice.

"Strikingly, blocking PAK activity also helped restore electrical signalling between neurons in the brains of the FXS mice," Chatterji said.

Interestingly, the FXS mice also exhibit abnormal behavioural symptoms like hyperactivity, purposeless, repetitive movements and learning difficulties commonly seen in autistic patients.

These behavioural problems are also ameliorated in the FXS mice with reduced PAK activity, the Indian researchers said.

Chatterji pointed out that the cutting-edge genetic engineering techniques used by his collaborators at MIT created a unique situation where PAK activity was blocked only after the debilitating symptoms of FXS had already taken hold in the mice.

"That PAK inhibition can reverse pre-existing symptoms of FXS is very good news for future design of drugs for treating fragile X in kids," said Chatterji.

There are known chemical compounds that inhibit the activity of PAK. These compounds or new ones targeted at PAK may greatly facilitate future development of drugs against FXS, and possibly autism as well, he said.


'"/>




Related medicine news :

1. Kidney Stones - Interesting New Research implicates bacteria as its cause
2. Researchers urge caution in using ear tube surgery
3. Paracetamol May Cause Live Damage Warns Consumer Education and Research Centre
4. Researchers Scale to assess the Severity of Epilepsy in Kids
5. Research of Ritalin
6. Researchers trick Alzheimers Enzyme
7. Researchers find new HIV hiding place
8. A Compilation of recent Diabetes Research articles
9. Research on causes for falling helps develop preventive strategies
10. New standards for Human Research Safety
11. Research on Celiac Disease in children
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:2/12/2016)... , ... February 12, 2016 , ... With the exception of restorative dentistry, to date ... decay. With the recent approval by the FDA, there is a now a new ... fluoride varnish, SDF is very simple and quick to apply. The application is as ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... February 12, 2016 , ... Fitbody Personal Training offers outdoor training classes which ... to get fit and healthy. Located in Phoenixville, PA, the classes are structured as ... for horseback riders who want to lose weight and tone up. This class offers ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... February 11, 2016 , ... According to an article ... as a weight loss dietary supplement, is being recalled due to the discovery that ... because there is not a single supplement on the market proven to help people ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... February 11, 2016 , ... Student-doctors from Western University ... Match Program Tuesday, February 9, taking one of the final steps in their ... education positions across the country. Of the 103 student-doctors who comprise the College ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... February 11, 2016 , ... Dr. Sadati’s recent ... cosmetic procedures. Along with performing procedures, the magazine also highlights that Dr. Sadati ... procedures. One of the most common procedures he performs is his natural facelift. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)... Feb. 11, 2016 Stem cells are primitive ... by self-renewal and the capacity to differentiate into mature ... discovery, as the first mouse embryonic stem cells were ... until 1995 that the first culturing of embryonic stem ... were not produced until 2006 As a result of ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... , Feb. 11, 2016  Governor Andrew M. ... will create 1,400 jobs throughout Western New ... partnership with the SUNY Polytechnic Institute, includes a major ... Building in Buffalo , as well ... manufacturing facility in Dunkirk . The ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... , Feb. 11, 2016 AAIPharma ... provider of custom manufacturing and development services for ... sterile fill-finish capabilities and capacity in its ... in demand has driven several recent investments. ... it had one filling line with small-scale lyophilization. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: