NASET News Alert

Mice get smarter with drug; Down syndrome researchers see promise in PTZ, or pentylenetetrazole

February 27, 2007

Lab mice with the mental retardation of Down syndrome got smarter after being fed a drug that strengthened brain circuits involved in learning and memory. 

After receiving once-daily doses of pentylenetetrazole, or PTZ for 17 days, the mice could recognize objects and navigate mazes as well as normal mice did, researchers said.  The improvements lasted up to two months after the drug was discontinued, according to the report in the journal Nature Neuroscience. 

Scientists said the study opened a promising avenue for research in a field that had seen little success.

"These mice are essentially restored to normal, which I haven't seen before," said David Patterson, a Down syndrome researcher at the University of Denver, who was not involved in the study.  "And the treatment seems to be long-lasting, which is a pretty surprising observation all by itself."

To read the entire article, visit http://www.latimes.com/features/health/medicine/la-sci-down26feb26,1,6272157.story?coll=la-health-medicine

Another related article: http://dsresearch.stanford.edu/community/

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