Drug Treatment Corrects Autism Symptoms in Mouse Model
An old drug gives hope for new treatment in autism
Autism results from abnormal cell communication. Testing a new theory, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have used a newly discovered function of an old drug to restore cell communications in a mouse model of autism, reversing symptoms of the devastating disorder.
The findings are published in the March 13, 2013 issue of the journal PLOS ONE.
“Our (cell danger) theory suggests that autism happens because cells get stuck in a defensive metabolic mode and fail to talk to each other normally, which can interfere with brain development and function,” said Robert Naviaux, MD, PhD, professor of medicine and co-director of the Mitochondrial and Metabolic Disease Center at UC San Diego. “We used a class of drugs that has been around for almost a century to treat other diseases to block the ‘danger’ signal in a mouse model, allowing cells to return to normal metabolism and restore cell communication.” Robert Naviaux, M.D., Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics In Residence.