080210xf's Blog

L'X fragile sera vaincu | Fragile X will be conquered

Lithium targets key enzyme to improve fragile X symptoms

Sfari.org |

Lithium ameliorates some of the cognitive and behavioral deficits associated with fragile X syndrome by blocking GSK-3, an enzyme that plays a key role in development, researchers said Wednesday at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego.

Lithium improves hyperactivity, irritability and aggression in children with fragile X syndrome, which is caused by a loss of function of the FMRI gene. Mouse models of fragile X syndrome treated with lithium have also shown improvements in memory and other learning deficits associated with the disorder.

But lithium has unpleasant side effects, including frequent urination. “The main bothersome side effect is it makes the kids bed-wet again after parents spend years training them,” says Richard Jope, professor of psychiatry and behavioral neurobiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Jope studied lithium as a treatment for bipolar disorder for years before receiving a grant from the FRAXA Research Foundation to investigate its use in treating fragile X syndrome.

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