Potential Target for Treatment of Autism
News Oct 02, 2015
Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have uncovered a significant--and potentially treatable--relationship between a chemical that helps transmit signals in the brain and genetic mutations present in a subset of individuals with autism spectrum disorder.
The new research findings focus on the role that the neurotransmitter serotonin plays in the development of social behavior. Serotonin, together with the serotonin receptors it activates in the brain, plays a significant role in neurological processes, including mood, anxiety, aggression and memory.
The study made use of an animal model of mutations in the gene Pten, a risk factor present in a subgroup of individuals with autism. Treatment of this model with a drug that suppresses the activity of a particular serotonin receptor, 5-HT2cR, can have a dramatic effect.
"Our research shows that targeting one specific serotonin receptor can reverse social deficits in a mouse model of the autism risk gene Pten," said Julien Séjourné, the first author of the new study. "This discovery is important for understanding the role of this specific subtype of serotonin receptor in autism-relevant behaviors and could lead to new therapeutic strategies."
"We found a striking contrast between the effects of dialing down the activity of the receptor using a drug, which improved social deficits in the Pten model, versus removing the receptor completely by mutation, which actually impaired social behavior," added TSRI Assistant Professor Damon Page, who led the study. "Important issues will be uncovering the mechanism by which modulating serotonin receptor activity can influence autism-relevant symptoms and identifying the time window and dose range where targeting serotonin receptors is most effective."
Page was recently awarded a $2.4 million, five-year grant from the National Institute of Mental Health of The National Institutes of Health (NIH) to further study the relationship between abnormal patterns of brain growth, neurotransmitter signaling and the behavioral and cognitive symptoms in individuals with autism spectrum disorder.
"The new grant will let us expand our research into the relationship between specific risk factors, altered brain development and key neurotransmitter systems, with the ultimate goal of moving toward individualized treatments for particular subgroups of individuals with autism spectrum disorder," he said.
Protein Target Identified That Could Prevent StrokesNews
Scientists have identified a protein, called GPR68, that senses blood flow and tells small blood vessels called arterioles when to dilate. The researchers believe medications that activate GPR68 could one day be useful to treat medical conditions, including ischemic stroke.READ MORE
Neuropeptide Y Y1 Receptor Structure Solved, Offers New Opportunities for Anti-obesity Drug DiscoveryNews
Scientists solve the crystal structure of Neuropeptide Y Y1 Receptor, offering new opportunities for anti-obesity drug discovery.READ MORE
Crystal Structure of Neuropeptide 1 Receptor Solved, Providing Therapeutic Angle For Obesity TreatmentNews
An international team has uncovered the potential to beat obesity at the cellular level, characterizing for the first time a complex, little-understood receptor type that, when activated, shuts off hunger.READ MORE
Comments | 0 ADD COMMENT
2nd International Conference and Exhibition on Nanomedicine and Drug Delivery
May 21 - May 23, 2018