MGluRs and Treating Different Autisms?

Doctor Gul Dolen explains that there are many single-gene disorders on the autism spectrum, which may or may not respond to mGluR-related treatment.

We don’t, at this point, know whether or not mGluRs will be effective for all types of autism. Fragile X is one of probably hundreds of causes of autism. Autism is really an umbrella term to refer to a spectrum of disorders that are clinically related by the symptoms, but probably caused by a number of different mutations. Indeed there are currently known at least a dozen single-gene disorders that are known to cause autism, and as our understanding of the genetics of autism grows, undoubtedly there will be hundreds more that will be discovered. But, what’s nice is that many of the single genes that are disrupted encode proteins that are inter-connected with each other either functionally or directly by direct contact between proteins, and many of them are at the synapse. We don’t know whether or not that all of the disruptions are going to be in the same direction. For example, Angelman syndrome seems to have some features that are in the same direction as typical autism and other features that are in the opposite direction. So it’s more like a spider web of inner connections between these proteins than a direct linear path. It’s hard to predict right now with any certainty whether a therapy for one is going to be helpful for all of the other ones, but at least it’s hopeful that that will be the case, and especially the ones that are very closely related to the Fragile X mGluR pathway.

fragile x, syndrome, mglur, mglur5, glutamate, receptor, autism, mutation, protein, gene, spectrum, gul, dolen

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