Google Play icon

Compound improves social interaction in autism mouse model

Share
Posted September 28, 2018

Children with autism often find social interactions awkward, leaving them isolated. Now in a study appearing in ACS’ Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, scientists report that they have discovered a first-of-its-kind compound that promotes social interaction among laboratory mice that display autistic traits. The finding could lead to the development of drugs capable of improving social behaviors in those who have autism.

Autism. Image credit: Jesper Sehested via Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) affect about one in every 59 children, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although symptoms vary, these disorders are often characterized by impaired social interactions, limited communication skills and repetitive behaviors. A few studies have shown that oxytocin, a hormone that acts like a neurotransmitter in the brain, can improve the ability of some ASD patients to interpret emotional cues and interact with others. However, oxytocin can’t be taken orally, is rapidly metabolized when given via injection and doesn’t readily cross the blood-brain barrier. Several research groups have tried to develop drug candidates that overcome these obstacles with little success. So Marcel Hibert and colleagues wanted to determine if other compounds that could mimic oxytocin — and also activate its receptor — might hold the key to helping ASD patients.

Some compounds that bind the oxytocin receptor also bind to another set of receptors for vasopressin, an antidiuretic hormone. The researchers found that these compounds share a common benzoyl benzazepine component. They tested variations of this structure, eventually finding one that appeared to have similar traits as oxytocin without its drawbacks. The team tested the compound in laboratory mice that were genetically altered so they behaved as if they had ASD. When given the compound, called LIT-001, the mice exhibited increased and more prolonged nose contacts than before — an indication that the mice were more social after treatment. The researchers concluded that this new compound could be an important step toward the development of drugs to relieve certain ASD symptoms.

Source: acs.org

Featured news from related categories:

Technology Org App
Google Play icon
86,058 science & technology articles

Most Popular Articles

  1. NASA Scientists Confirm Water Vapor on Europa (November 19, 2019)
  2. Universe is a Sphere and Not Flat After All According to a New Research (November 7, 2019)
  3. How Do We Colonize Ceres? (November 21, 2019)
  4. Scientists Reverse Dementia in Mice with Anti Inflammatory Drugs (5 days old)
  5. This Artificial Leaf Turns Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Into Fuel (November 8, 2019)

Follow us

Facebook   Twitter   Pinterest   Tumblr   RSS   Newsletter via Email