A new study, conducted by researchers from Inserm, CNRS, Inrae and the University of Tours, brings promising results on a drug that has been widely used in the treatment of epilepsy.
About 700,000 people in France would be affected. But there is currently no treatment specifically targeting autism to improve behavioral disorders and the alterations in associated social interactions.
A new study conducted by researchers from Inserm, CNRS, Inrae and the University of Tours opens the promising path to a new treatment. The researchers were interested in a drug that has been widely used in the treatment of epilepsy: bromide ions. “With the arrival on the market of new drugs for epileptic patients, the use of this drug has decreased, but it is still an interesting therapeutic tool, especially in cases of epilepsy resistant to conventional treatments” emphasizes Inserm.
Why bromide ions? “Epilepsy is a comorbidity frequently found in people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD): it is likely that certain risk factors and pathophysiological processes are common. The scientists therefore felt that it could be interesting to study more particularly the effectiveness of this treatment in the context of ASD” explain the researchers.
The team therefore tested this treatment on 3 mouse models that presented different genetic mutations responsible for the autistic phenotype. Each time, the bromide ions had a beneficial effect on the autistic phenotype, restoring social behavior and decreasing the animals’ stereotypical behaviors. The bromide ions also helped reduce their anxiety.
This study, published very recently in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, led to the filing of two patents. Still on the basis of these promising results, the next step will be to set up a clinical trial on a small number of adult patients.
Source : Chronic sodium bromide treatment relieves autistic-like behavioral deficits in three mouse models of autismNeuropsychopharmacology, April 2022
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