Auditory Dysfunction in Fragile X Syndrome in a Mouse Model of Fragile X

Auditory Dysfunction in Fragile X Syndrome in a Mouse Model of Fragile X

With a $90,000 grant from FRAXA, Dr. McCullagh and Dr. Achem Klug at the University of Colorado investigated whether auditory neural circuits are altered in Fragile X mice. They saw minor differences in these mice compared to B6 (control) mice in several measures of auditory acuity. Fmr1 mice had increased latency to the startle response for almost all conditions compared to B6 mice, suggesting altered timing to acoustic cues. These experiments show that, consistent with patient reports and anatomical/physiological data, the auditory system is altered in a mouse model of FXS, though with some potential compensation leading to a subtle behavioral impact.

Elizabeth MCullough and Achim KlugRead more

Novel Modulators of Potassium Channels to Treat Fragile X

Novel Modulators of Potassium Channels to Treat Fragile X

With funding from FRAXA over 2015-2017, the Yale University team of Leonard Kaczmarek, PhD showed that the firing patterns of auditory neurons in response to repeated stimulation is severely abnormal in Fragile X mice. Based on these results, they are collaborating with the UK-based company Autifony to develop advanced compounds which may reverse these deficits.

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NKCC1 Inhibitor Bumetanide Corrects Synaptic and Circuit Hyperexcitability in Fragile X Mouse Model

NKCC1 Inhibitor Bumetanide Corrects Synaptic and Circuit Hyperexcitability in Fragile X Mouse Model

With $258,000 in grants since 2013 from FRAXA Research Foundation, Dr. Anis Contractor and Dr. Qionger He at Northwestern University are exploring the potential of the available drug bumetanide to correct altered GABA signalling in a mouse model of Fragile X syndrome.

Qionger He, PhD, and Anis Contractor, PhDRead more

Retinoic Acid Signaling is Blocked by Fragile X Mutation

Retinoic Acid Signaling is Blocked by Fragile X Mutation

With a 2013-2014 FRAXA Research Grant, Principal Investigator Marius Wernig, PhD and FRAXA Fellow Samuele Marro, PhD at Stanford University found that the Fragile X mutation impairs homeostatic plasticity in human neurons, by blocking synaptic retinoic acid signaling. Retinoic acid is a metabolite of Vitamin A. The system they have developed could provide a powerful new cellular biomarker for screening many treatment approaches.

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Aripiprazole as a Treatment for Fragile X Syndrome

Aripiprazole as a Treatment for Fragile X Syndrome

Many medications are used to help people with Fragile X cope. But few clinical trials have been done on these drugs. Years ago FRAXA funded Dr. Craig Erickson to run a trial of aripiprazole (aka Abilify). FRAXA guest writer Hannah Miles recently caught up with Dr. Erickson to learn the results of the trial.

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Lovamix: Clinical Trial of Combined Treatment of Minocycline and Lovastatin in Fragile X Syndrome

Lovamix: Clinical Trial of Combined Treatment of Minocycline and Lovastatin in Fragile X Syndrome

With a $66,714 grant from the FRAXA Research Foundation awarded over 2015-2017, Dr. Francois Corbin at the Universite of Sherbrooke will test the safety and synergistic effects of lovastatin and minocycline in patients with Fragile X syndrome.

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Combinatorial Drug Treatment in a Model of Fragile X Syndrome using Novel Biomarkers

Combinatorial Drug Treatment in a Model of Fragile X Syndrome using Novel Biomarkers

With a $90,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation awarded over 2016-2017, University of California researchers Khaleel Razak, PhD, and Jonathan W. Lovelace, PhD, are exploring drug combinations to limit hypersensitivity to sounds in Fragile X mice.

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Autophagy is a Novel Therapeutic Target of Impaired Cognition in Fragile X Syndrome

Autophagy is a Novel Therapeutic Target of Impaired Cognition in Fragile X Syndrome

Dr. Suzanne Zukin, at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, is expert on signaling pathways in the brain and the regulation of synaptic plasticity. With this 2017 grant of $90,000 from FRAXA Research Foundation, she and her team are exploring autophagy, which is how cells clean house, in Fragile X.

Jingqi Yan, PhD and Suzanne Zukin, PhDRead more

Defining Subcellular Specificity of Metabotropic Glutamate Receptor (mGluR5) Antagonists

Defining Subcellular Specificity of Metabotropic Glutamate Receptor (mGluR5) Antagonists

With $217,500 in grants from FRAXA Research Foundation, Dr. Karen O’Malley and team studied the function of mGluR5 when it is inside cells. Many of the symptoms of Fragile X Syndrome (FXS) are thought to arise due to overactive metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGluR5) signaling, which is normally opposed by the protein missing in FXS, Fragile X Protein (FMRP).

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Investigating Gene Reactivation to Treat Fragile X Syndrome

Investigating Gene Reactivation to Treat Fragile X Syndrome

With a $180,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation from 2016-2017, Dr. Jeannie Lee and her team at Harvard are working to reactivate the gene that is silenced in Fragile X syndrome.

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Mechanisms of Tolerance to Chronic mGluR5 Inhibition

Mechanisms of Tolerance to Chronic mGluR5 Inhibition

Over the past few years, both Novartis and Roche sponsored large-scale clinical trials of metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGlu5) negative allosteric modulators (NAMs) to treat Fragile X syndrome (FXS). With a $90,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation in 2015-2017, Dr. Mark Bear’s team will explore if mGlu5 NAMs dosed chronically causes tolerance, and if so, how it develops and to probe new avenues to prevent or circumvent it.

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Prefrontal Cortex Network (PFC) Dynamics in Fragile X Syndrome

Prefrontal Cortex Network (PFC) Dynamics in Fragile X Syndrome

With a $90,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation from 2016-2017, Dr. Daniel Johnston and Dr. Jenni Siegel at the University of Texas at Austin are analyzing pre-frontal cortex (PFC) dysfunction in the Fragile X model. They have preliminary evidence that Fragile X mice are severely impaired in a prefrontal cortex (PFC)-dependent task.

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Clinical Trial of Ganaxolone in Patients with Fragile X Syndrome

Clinical Trial of Ganaxolone in Patients with Fragile X Syndrome

With a $90,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation funded during 2014-2015, Dr. Frank Kooy and colleagues at the University of Antwerp are conducting a double blind crossover trial of ganaxolone in patients with Fragile X syndrome. Results of this study were mixed (see Marinus: Results from Phase 2 Exploratory Clinical Study Support Continued Development of Ganaxolone in Fragile X Syndrome.)

Frank Kooy, PhD, at University of AntwerpRead more

Biomarker Discovery and Validation for Fragile X Syndrome

Biomarker Discovery and Validation for Fragile X Syndrome

With a $120,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation over 2015-2016, Dr. Eric Klann of New York University investigated potential new biomarkers in Fragile X syndrome and how to translate these markers from mouse models to human patients.

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Function of FMRP and Test of a Novel Therapeutic Approach in a Fragile X Mouse Model

Function of FMRP and Test of a Novel Therapeutic Approach in a Fragile X Mouse Model

With a 2015-2016 $90,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation, Dr. Herve Moine and Dr. Andrea Geoffroy aim to uncover the exact role of FMRP and to test a novel possible means to correct for FMRP absence in the mouse model of Fragile X syndrome.

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Correcting Defects in Astrocyte Signaling in Fragile X Syndrome

Correcting Defects in Astrocyte Signaling in Fragile X Syndrome

With a $90,000 grant from the FRAXA Research Foundation from 2015-2016, Dr. Laurie Doering and Dr. Angela Scott at McMasters University studied astrocytes in Fragile X. Astrocytes, brain cells which support neurons, do not transmit signals. Several treatment strategies for Fragile X have been proposed based on correction of “astrocyte phenotypes”.

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Fruit Flies to Model and Test Fragile X Treatments

Fruit Flies to Model and Test Fragile X Treatments

Dr. Jongens and his collaborators have found an insulin-like protein in the fly brain that is overexpressed in the Fragile X mutant fly, leading to increased activity of the insulin signaling pathway. Furthermore, they found that certain behavioral patterns in the Fragile X flies can be rescued by expressing the FX gene just in insulin producing neurons in the fly brain. In the mutant, there are other changes in the signaling pathways, including a decrease in cAMP and elevation in PI3K, mTOR, Akt and ERK activity. They now propose to study 2 medicines used for diabetes: pioglitazone (increases cAMP and decreases Akt and ERK) and metformin (inhibits mTOR), in flies and mice to validate the potential efficacy of these novel therapeutics for Fragile X.

Dr. Tom Jongens and Dr. Sean McBride study Fragile X Fruit FliesRead more

FRAXA Grant to Nahum Sonenberg, PhD — Effects of metformin in Fmr1 knockout mouse model of Fragile X syndrome

FRAXA Grant to Nahum Sonenberg, PhD — Effects of metformin in Fmr1 knockout mouse model of Fragile X syndrome

Mis-regulation of activity-dependent protein synthesis is one of the major cellular abnormalities found in Fragile X. Upstream neuronal signaling regulates a large cluster of enzymes called the mTORC1 complex, which in turn regulates protein synthesis. This complex is also controlled by cellular energy levels via the metabolic sensor AMP-activated Protein Kinase (AMPK). AMPK is a highly conserved kinase that is activated under conditions of energy stress, when intracellular ATP levels decline and intracellular AMP increases.

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Inhibitors of STEP as a Novel Treatment of Fragile X Syndrome

Inhibitors of STEP as a Novel Treatment of Fragile X Syndrome

With a $349,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation from 2008-2015, Dr. Paul Lombroso and his team at Yale University researched if inhibiting STEP could reduce behavioral abnormalities in Fragile X syndrome. Results published.

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Phase 1 Clinical Trial of Mega Green Tea Extract in Fragile X Syndrome

Phase 1 Clinical Trial of Mega Green Tea Extract in Fragile X Syndrome

With a $124,000 grant from the FRAXA Research Foundation from 2012-2014, Dr. Mara Dierssen and Dr. Rafael de la Torre conducted preclinical studies in Fragile X knockout mice and a clinical trial in Fragile X patients using Mega Green Tea Extract, which contains 45% by weight epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).

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Cellular-Specific Therapeutic Targeting of Inhibitory Circuits in Fragile X Syndrome

Cellular-Specific Therapeutic Targeting of Inhibitory Circuits in Fragile X Syndrome

Studies have shown that the function of inhibitory networks is disturbed in Fragile X. This abnormality is not well understood but appears to be secondary to abnormalities in metabotropic glutamate and endocannabinoid systems. With a $90,000 grant from FRAXA in 2013-2014, Dr. Molly Huntsman’s team examined how these networks interact and how inhibitory deficits can best be remedied.

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Functional Interplay Between FMRP and CDK5 Signaling

With a $180,000 grant from the FRAXA Research Foundation over 2011-2014, Dr. Yue Feng and Dr. Wenqi Li at Emory University will study CDK5 pathway function and regulation in an effort to break down whether and how CDK5 signaling is affected by the loss of the Fragile X protein, FMRP, in the Fragile X mouse model.

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