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:4/28/2016)... , ... April 28, 2016 , ... ... today announced it will demonstrate its leading secure mobility workstation suite, SentinelSecure™, at ... Held at Hilton Union Square, this will be MobileIron’s 6th Mobile First Conference ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... ... April 28, 2016 , ... Denise McCormick Baich had written poetry dating back to her childhood, ... much like a tsunami and took on a more spiritual tone. The desire to put ... do more with it than just file it away. Friends would ask her how she ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... ... ... For the 10,000 Americans who turn 65 on any given day, “getting wiser” with ... Now, a new book—Staying Sharp For Dummies (Paper; ISBN: 978-1-119-18779-0; Available Now)—outlines simple things ... from honing your memory and managing stress to eating healthy foods as part of ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... Boston,MA (PRWEB) , ... April 28, 2016 , ... Boston ... U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The treatment consists of the application of Riboflavin, ... of the collagen fibers which in turn strengthens the cornea to slow the progression ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... MA (PRWEB) , ... April 28, 2016 , ... The ... eating patterns based on the latest nutritional science. While there is a lot of ... improve their health, according to the April 2016 issue of Harvard Men's Health ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:4/27/2016)... Research and Markets has ... Disposables Market 2016-2020"  report to their offering.  ... global anesthesia disposables market is set to ... the period 2016-2020.  Healthcare-acquired infections ... safety. Organizations like the CDC and Public ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... FRANCISCO , April 27, 2016 ... reach over USD 2.14 billion by 2022, according ... Inc.       (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20150105/723757 ... technological advancement affecting the efficiency and accuracy delivered ... the persistent demand for novel urinalysis instruments and ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... April 27, 2016 At the ... launch of a Phase 2 clinical study of its ... patients undergoing cochlear implantation (CI) surgery. This large, placebo-controlled, ... Germany and France ... ear at the time of surgery. "Despite advances in ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: