Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Neuroscientists identify synaptic defect in brain area involved in Fragile X syndrome

Date:
June 9, 2010
Source:
New York University
Summary:
Researchers have identified novel synaptic defects in an area of the brain that is involved in the debilitating emotional symptoms of Fragile X syndrome.

Researchers at India's National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) and New York University's Center for Neural Science have identified novel synaptic defects in an area of the brain that is involved in the debilitating emotional symptoms of Fragile X Syndrome (FXS). FXS is the leading known genetic cause of autism and mental retardation.

The study, which appears in the journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is also of potential therapeutic significance -- it showed that a brief pharmacological treatment is capable of correcting some of these synaptic deficits in mice genetically engineered to model FXS.

Individuals with FXS, which is caused by a mutation in a gene on the X chromosome, suffer from a range of problems, such as learning disabilities, attention deficit and hyperactivity, seizures, and emotional problems related to anxiety and mood instability. To investigate the cellular and molecular basis for the emotional problems associated with FXS, neuroscientists from NCBS and NYU studied how neurons and synapses in the amygdala -- a small, almond-shaped part of the brain known to mediate emotion's influence on memory -- are affected in FXS model mice.

Using electrophysiological recordings from neurons in the amygdala, Sumantra Chattarji, a professor at NCBS, and Aparna Suvrathan, an NCBS graduate student, determined that there were defects on both sides of synapses in the amygdala -- that is, its neurons were not properly communicating with each other. NYU Professor Eric Klann and Charles Hoeffer, a former postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Neural Science and now at NYU School of Medicine, identified the molecular correlates of these defects, giving the researchers a firm understanding of where the breakdown occurs. Together, these deficits impair the ability of neurons in the amygdala to communicate and encode information.

Their next step was to consider how to normalize communication between neurons. To do so, they focused on group I metabotropic glutmate receptors (mGluRs), which have been shown to be involved in synaptic dysfunction in other brain areas in FXS. mGluRs are receptors for glutamate, the major neurotransmitter in the brain. Specifically, the researchers found that some of the synaptic deficits could be reversed when the amygdala neurons in adult FXS model mice were treated with a drug that blocks these receptors. By blocking the functionality of these receptors, normal communication between neurons could occur.

The findings hold promise for addressing FXS.

FXS is a developmental disorder that arises early in childhood, so the results suggest that synaptic defects can be corrected pharmacologically even after the disease has had time to alter the brains of the FXS mice. The findings follow recent reports that pharmaceutical companies have conducted clinical trials in FXS individuals using compounds that block mGluRs.

The NCBS-NYU study was supported by grants from the FRAXA Research Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, Pfizer Asia, and NCBS.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by New York University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Aparna Suvrathan, Charles A. Hoeffer, Helen Wong, Eric Klann, and Sumantra Chattarji. Characterization and reversal of synaptic defects in the amygdala in a mouse model of fragile X syndrome. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, June 7, 2010 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1002262107

Cite This Page:

New York University. "Neuroscientists identify synaptic defect in brain area involved in Fragile X syndrome." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 June 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100607151318.htm>.
New York University. (2010, June 9). Neuroscientists identify synaptic defect in brain area involved in Fragile X syndrome. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100607151318.htm
New York University. "Neuroscientists identify synaptic defect in brain area involved in Fragile X syndrome." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100607151318.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Since the arrival of Ebola in Ivory Coast, Ivorians have been abandoning their pets, particularly monkeys, in the fear that they may transmit the virus. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Links Male-Pattern Baldness To Prostate Cancer

Study Links Male-Pattern Baldness To Prostate Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) New findings suggest men with a certain type of baldness at age 45 are 39 percent more likely to develop aggressive prostate cancer. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins