Could some forms of mental retardation be treated with drugs in the future?

October 20, 2009

(ChattahBox) — Georgetown University Medical Center researchers say a new understanding of a growth factor implicated in some mental retardation disorders could lead to a novel treatment.  Growth factors are the proteins that trigger a countless number of actions in cells.  Drugs that increase or decrease certain growth factors have lead to treatments for cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

Abnormalities in the number and shape of dendritic spines, the protrusions that allow communication between brain neurons, have been observed in patients with mental retardation. Previous research led by Baoji Xu, PhD, associate professor in the department of pharmacology, has shown that brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a growth factor synthesized in dendrites, regulates the number and shape of dendritic spines required for spatial learning and memory.

In this work, presented during a symposium at the 39th annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, Xu and his colleagues halted the transport of BDNF to dendritic spines in mice. They found similar abnormalities in dendritic spine development seen in humans with some forms of mental retardation, such as fragile X syndrome. The mice also exhibited impaired learning and memory.

These results highlight the role of BDNF in mental retardation, Xu says, and indicate that increasing the transport of these growth factors may be a way to treat these conditions.

Source: Georgetown University Medical Center via BreakThroughDigest Medical News


Comments

One Response to “Could some forms of mental retardation be treated with drugs in the future?”

  1. Could some forms of mental retardation be treated with drugs in the future? | cancer research on October 20th, 2009 6:40 pm

    […] See more here:  Could some forms of mental retardation be treated with drugs in the future? […]

Got something to say? **Please Note** - Comments may be edited for clarity or obscenity, and all comments are published at the discretion of ChattahBox.com - Comments are the opinions of the individuals leaving them, and not of ChattahBox.com or its partners. - Please do not spam or submit comments that use copyright materials, hearsay or are based on reports where the supposed fact or quote is not a matter of public knowledge are also not permitted.