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New insight about the source of anxiety in Rett syndrome

icotropin-releasing hormone) plays a critical role in the stress response that produces anxiety in these children, governing in part the production of stress hormones. In humans, the major one of these is cortisol. In mice, it is corticosterone.

They chose anxiety because it has been well studied, and its molecular basis is partially understood. They found that the Rett mice suffered from serious anxiety and that in a stressful situation, they produced 1.5 times the amount of corticosterone produced by normal mice.

They propose that normally, MeCP2 acts like a rheostat that controls CRH and thus the stress response, depending on the need of the situation. CRH kicks the response up. When MeCP2 is mutated, this process is less controlled.

Currently, some anti-anxiety drugs are being developed that block the receptor for CRH on the cell. McGill, Zoghbi, and their colleagues are studying the effect of these drugs on the animals with the mutated MeCP2 gene.


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Contact: Ross Tomlin
htomlin@bcm.edu
713-798-4710
Baylor College of Medicine
13-Nov-2006


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