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Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2008 Dec 10;164(1-2):55-63. doi: 10.1016/j.resp.2008.04.005.

Breathing dysfunction in Rett syndrome: understanding epigenetic regulation of the respiratory network.

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  • 1Department of Neurosciences, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, 10900 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106-4975, USA.

Abstract

Severely arrhythmic breathing is a hallmark of Rett syndrome (RTT) and profoundly affects quality of life for patients and their families. The last decade has seen the identification of the disease-causing gene, methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (Mecp2) and the development of mouse models that phenocopy many aspects of the human syndrome, including breathing dysfunction. Recent studies have begun to characterize the breathing phenotype of Mecp2 mutant mice and to define underlying electrophysiological and neurochemical deficits. The picture that is emerging is one of defects in synaptic transmission throughout the brainstem respiratory network associated with abnormal expression in several neurochemical signaling systems, including brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), biogenic amines and gamma-amino-butyric acid (GABA). Based on such findings, potential therapeutic strategies aimed at improving breathing by targeting deficits in neurochemical signaling are being explored. This review details our current understanding of respiratory dysfunction and underlying mechanisms in RTT with a particular focus on insights gained from mouse models.

PMID:
18534925
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2664709
Free PMC Article
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