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Papers of the Week

2020 Dec 07

Int J Mol Sci



Carbamazepine Restores Neuronal Signaling, Protein Synthesis, and Cognitive Function in a Mouse Model of Fragile X Syndrome.


Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is a leading genetic disorder of intellectual disability caused by the loss of the functional fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP). To date, there is no efficacious mechanism-based medication for FXS. With regard to potential disease mechanisms in FXS, it is widely accepted that the lack of FMRP causes elevated protein synthesis and deregulation of neuronal signaling. Abnormal enhancement of the ERK½ (extracellular signal-regulated kinase ½) and PI3K-Akt (Phosphoinositide 3 kinase-protein kinase B) signaling pathways has been identified in both FXS patients and FXS mouse models. In this study, we show that carbamazepine, which is an FDA-approved drug and has been mainly used to treat seizure and neuropathic pain, corrects cognitive deficits including passive avoidance and object location memory in FXS mice. Carbamazepine also rescues hyper locomotion and social deficits. At the cellular level, carbamazepine dampens the elevated level of ERK½ and Akt signaling as well as protein synthesis in FXS mouse neurons. Together, these results advocate repurposing carbamazepine for FXS treatment.