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Monday, April 30, 2012

Experimental Drug Reduces Autism Symptoms in Mice, Government Study Shows

From www.TheAutismNews.com

April 27, 2012

"These findings offer encouragement that research focused on developing medicines for core symptoms of autism are gaining momentum," said study co-author Robert Ring, vice president for translational research for Autism Speaks, an autism research and advocacy organization."

(CBS News) Autism affects one out of every 88 American children, and while there are available treatments for early intervention, there is no cure. A new government-funded study has found an experimental treatment is effective at reversing symptoms of autism in mice.

For the study, published in the April 25 issue of Science and Translational Medicine, researchers from the National Institutes of Health bred a strain of mice to display autism-like behaviors.

Just as children with autism have social deficits and engage in repetitive behaviors, these mice did not interact and communicate with each other and spent an inordinate amount of time engaging in repetitive behavior – in this case self-grooming.


Autism-like behaviors in mice have been reduced, using an experimental agent being tested in patients for a related disorder. Here, a mouse is absorbed in repetitive self-grooming. The agent reduced this repetitive behavior in a strain of mice that is prone to it, and almost stopped repetitive vertical jumping in another strain of mice.

Cue the experimental drug called GRN-529. The drug was designed to inhibit a type of brain cell receptor that receives the neurotransmitter glutamate. Glutamate is typically involved in learning and memory processes and stimulates other areas of the brain and nervous system.

When mice with the autism-like behaviors were injected with the experimental compound, they reduced the frequency of their repetitive self-grooming and spent more time around strange mice, even sniffing them nose to nose. When tested on a different strain of mice, the experimental compound stopped all repetitive jumping behavior.

“These new results in mice support NIMH-funded research in humans to create treatments for the core symptoms,” Dr. Thomas R. Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, said in a statement. “While autism has been often considered only as a disability in need of rehabilitation, we can now address it as a disorder responding to biomedical treatments.”


Autism-like behaviors in mice have been reduced, using an experimental agent being tested in patients for a related disorder. Here, a mouse pays a social visit to a strange animal. The agent increased such sociability, which is impaired in autism.

1 comment:

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