Correction of fragile X syndrome in mice.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute, The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.
Neuron (Impact Factor: 15.98). 01/2008; 56(6):955-62. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2007.12.001
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is the most common form of heritable mental retardation and the leading identified cause of autism. FXS is caused by transcriptional silencing of the FMR1 gene that encodes the fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP), but the pathogenesis of the disease is unknown. According to one proposal, many psychiatric and neurological symptoms of FXS result from unchecked activation of mGluR5, a metabotropic glutamate receptor. To test this idea we generated Fmr1 mutant mice with a 50% reduction in mGluR5 expression and studied a range of phenotypes with relevance to the human disorder. Our results demonstrate that mGluR5 contributes significantly to the pathogenesis of the disease, a finding that has significant therapeutic implications for fragile X and related developmental disorders.

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    ABSTRACT: The Fmr1 knock-out mouse model of fragile X syndrome (Fmr1(-/y)) has an epileptogenic phenotype that is triggered by group I metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR) activation. We found that a membrane-permeable peptide that disrupts mGluR5 interactions with long-form Homers enhanced mGluR-induced epileptiform burst firing in wild-type (WT) animals, replicating the early stages of hyperexcitability in Fmr1(-/y). The peptide enhanced mGluR-evoked endocannabinoid (eCB)-mediated suppression of inhibitory synapses, decreased it at excitatory synapses in WTs, but had no effect on eCB actions in Fmr1(-/y). At a low concentration, the mGluR agonist did not generate eCBs at excitatory synapses but nevertheless induced burst firing in both Fmr1(-/y) and peptide-treated WT slices. This burst firing was suppressed by a cannabinoid receptor antagonist. We suggest that integrity of Homer scaffolds is essential for normal mGluR-eCB functioning and that aberrant eCB signaling resulting from disturbances of this molecular structure contributes to the epileptic phenotype of Fmr1(-/y). Copyright © 2015 the authors 0270-6474/15/353938-08$15.00/0.
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    ABSTRACT: Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is the leading cause of both intellectual disability and autism resulting from a single gene mutation. Previously, we characterized cognitive impairments and brain structural defects in a Drosophila model of FXS and demonstrated that these impairments were rescued by treatment with metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR) antagonists or lithium. A well-documented biochemical defect observed in fly and mouse FXS models and FXS patients is low cAMP levels. cAMP levels can be regulated by mGluR signaling. Herein, we demonstrate PDE-4 inhibition as a therapeutic strategy to ameliorate memory impairments and brain structural defects in the Drosophila model of fragile X. Furthermore, we examine the effects of PDE-4 inhibition by pharmacologic treatment in the fragile X mouse model. We demonstrate that acute inhibition of PDE-4 by pharmacologic treatment in hippocampal slices rescues the enhanced mGluR-dependent LTD phenotype observed in FXS mice. Additionally, we find that chronic treatment of FXS model mice, in adulthood, also restores the level of mGluR-dependent LTD to that observed in wild-type animals. Translating the findings of successful pharmacologic intervention from the Drosophila model into the mouse model of FXS is an important advance, in that this identifies and validates PDE-4 inhibition as potential therapeutic intervention for the treatment of individuals afflicted with FXS. Copyright © 2015 the authors 0270-6474/15/350396-13$15.00/0.
    The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience 01/2015; 35(1):396-408. DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1356-12.2015 · 6.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Serotonin 5-HT7 receptors are expressed in the hippocampus and modulate the excitability of hippocampal neurons. We have previously shown that 5-HT7 receptors modulate glutamate-mediated hippocampal synaptic transmission and long-term synaptic plasticity. In particular, we have shown that activation of 5-HT7 receptors reversed metabotropic glutamate receptor-mediated long-term depression (mGluR-LTD) in wild-type (wt) and in Fmr1 KO mice, a mouse model of Fragile X Syndrome in which mGluR-LTD is abnormally enhanced, suggesting that 5-HT7 receptor agonists might be envisaged as a novel therapeutic strategy for Fragile X Syndrome. In this perspective, we have characterized the basic in vitro pharmacokinetic properties of novel molecules with high binding affinity and selectivity for 5-HT7 receptors and we have tested their effects on synaptic plasticity using patch clamp on acute hippocampal slices. Here we show that LP-211, a high affinity selective agonist of 5-HT7 receptors, reverses mGluR-LTD in wt and Fmr1 KO mice, correcting a synaptic malfunction in the mouse model of Fragile X Syndrome. Among novel putative agonists of 5-HT7 receptors, the compound BA-10 displayed improved affinity and selectivity for 5-HT7 receptors and improved in vitro pharmacokinetic properties with respect to LP-211. BA-10 significantly reversed mGluR-LTD in the CA3-CA1 synapse in wt and Fmr1KO mice, indicating that BA-10 behaved as a highly effective agonist of 5-HT7 receptors and reduced exaggerated mGluR-LTD in a mouse model of Fragile X Syndrome. On the other side, the compounds RA-7 and PM-20, respectively arising from in vivo metabolism of LP-211 and BA-10, had no effect on mGluR-LTD thus did not behave as agonists of 5-HT7 receptors in our conditions. The present results provide information about the structure-activity relationship of novel 5-HT7 receptor agonists and indicate that LP-211 and BA-10 might be used as novel pharmacological tools for the therapy of Fragile X Syndrome.
    Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 03/2015; 9:65. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2015.00065. DOI:10.3389/fnbeh.2015.00065 · 4.16 Impact Factor

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