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Health Agencies Update
June 27, 2012

Targeting Autism-like Symptoms

JAMA. 2012;307(24):2578. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.7065

A type of drug that has shown some promise in treating symptoms of fragile X syndrome in animals also appears to help reduce some behaviors in mice with autism-like symptoms, according to a study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.

The discovery of elevated signaling of the metabotropic glutamate receptor subtype 5 (mGluR5) in mice with a fragile X–like disorder led scientists to probe whether mGluR5 antagonists might reduce some of the behavioral symptoms exhibited by these mice. When animal studies suggested that such compounds could improve symptoms, scientists launched clinical trials of mGluR5 antagonists for patients with fragile X. Because many patients with fragile X also have a diagnosis of autism, the animal findings also led to questions about whether the compounds could reduce some behavioral problems associated with autism.

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