April 26, 2012
Press Release • April 25, 2012 social worker ceus Crawley’s team followed-up on clues from earlier findings hinting that inhibitors of the receptor, called mGluR5, might reduce ASD symptoms. This class of agents – compounds similar to GRN-529, used in the mouse study – are in clinical trials for patients with the most common form of inherited intellectual and developmental disabilities, Fragile X syndrome, about one third of whom also meet criteria for ASDs. To test their hunch, the researchers examined effects of GRN-529 in a naturally occurring inbred strain of mice that normally display autism-relevant behaviors. Like children with ASDs, these BTBR mice interact and communicate relatively less with each other and engage in repetitive behaviors – most typically, spending an inordinate amount of time grooming themselves. Crawley’s team found that BTBR mice injected with GRN-529 showed reduced levels of repetitive self-grooming and spent more time around – and sniffing nose-to-nose with – a strange mouse. Moreover, GRN-529 almost completely stopped repetitive jumping in another strain of mice. “These inbred strains of mice are similar, behaviorally, to individuals with autism for whom the responsible genetic factors are unknown, which accounts for about three fourths of people with the disorders,” noted Crawley. “Given the high costs – monetary and emotional – to families, schools, and health care systems, we are hopeful that this line of studies may help meet the need for medications that treat core symptoms.” Reference: Silverman JL, Smith DG, Rizzo SJS, Karras MN, Turner SM, Tolu SS, Bryce DK, Smith DL, Fonseca K, Ring RH, Crawley, JN. Negative allosteric modulation of the MGluR5 receptor reduces repetitive behaviors and rescues social deficits in mouse models of autism. April 25, 2012, Science Translational Medicine.