Experimental Drug Eases Autistic Behaviors in Mice
By Jenifer Goodwin
WEDNESDAY, April 25 (HealthDay News) -- An experimental drug reduced two signature characteristics of autism -- repetitive behavior and abnormal social interactions -- in laboratory mice, new research finds.
The drug, GRN-529, targets glutamate, a major neurotransmitter found throughout the brain that's involved with activating neurons, or brain cells. Researchers believe the compound works through a specific glutamate receptor (mGluR5) and decreases glutamate activity.
Researchers bred mice to have the hallmarks of autism -- including unusual social interactions, impaired communication and repetitive self-grooming -- and injected them with GRN-529.
Almost immediately, the mice showed fewer repetitive behaviors and more normal social interactions, although their communication was still not typical.
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