Development of a Novel GABA-A Agonist in Fragile X Syndrome

With a $21,000 grant from  the FRAXA Research Foundation, Dr. Tori Schaefer will analyze an investigational new compound that targets the GABA-A receptor. A clinical trial of the compound will follow led by Dr. Craig Erickson at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

Tori Shaeffer
$21,000 Grant
Tori Schaefer, PhD
Principal Investigator
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital
2013 FRAXA Research Grant
$21,000

Of the many genes known to be regulated by FMRP, the gamma-aminobutyric acid receptor A (GABA-A), is gaining attention as a potential target for the treatment of fragile X syndrome. Mounting evidence suggests decreased expression and functioning of GABA-A is involved in the pathophysiology of fragile X syndrome. Non-selective GABA-A agonism in animal models of fragile X syndrome has been associated with normalization of morphological features, GABA-A expression, and behavior. However, the clinical use of these agents in fragile X is associated with unwanted side-effects, such as sedation, dulling of cognition, and occasional paradoxical agitation, which limits their use. Given the limitations in available GABA-A-based treatment of FXS, this group plans to investigate a novel selective GABA-A agonist in a mouse model of FXS. This agent has the potential to relieve many symptoms of fragile X without the unwanted side effects.

Craig Erickson, MD, at Indiana University School of Medicine, FRAXA research grant

Craig Erickson, PhD
Consultant

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