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Sci Transl Med. 2011 Jan 5;3(64):64ra1. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3001708.

Epigenetic modification of the FMR1 gene in fragile X syndrome is associated with differential response to the mGluR5 antagonist AFQ056.

Author information

1
Service de Génétique Médicale, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, CH-1011 Lausanne, Switzerland.

Abstract

Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is an X-linked condition associated with intellectual disability and behavioral problems. It is caused by expansion of a CGG repeat in the 5' untranslated region of the fragile X mental retardation 1 (FMR1) gene. This mutation is associated with hypermethylation at the FMR1 promoter and resultant transcriptional silencing. FMR1 silencing has many consequences, including up-regulation of metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGluR5)-mediated signaling. mGluR5 receptor antagonists have shown promise in preclinical FXS models and in one small open-label study of FXS. We examined whether a receptor subtype-selective inhibitor of mGluR5, AFQ056, improves the behavioral symptoms of FXS in a randomized, double-blind, two-treatment, two-period, crossover study of 30 male FXS patients aged 18 to 35 years. We detected no significant effects of treatment on the primary outcome measure, the Aberrant Behavior Checklist-Community Edition (ABC-C) score, at day 19 or 20 of treatment. In an exploratory analysis, however, seven patients with full FMR1 promoter methylation and no detectable FMR1 messenger RNA improved, as measured with the ABC-C, significantly more after AFQ056 treatment than with placebo (P < 0.001). We detected no response in 18 patients with partial promoter methylation. Twenty-four patients experienced an adverse event, which was mostly mild to moderately severe fatigue or headache. If confirmed in larger and longer-term studies, these results suggest that blockade of the mGluR5 receptor in patients with full methylation at the FMR1 promoter may show improvement in the behavioral attributes of FXS.

TRIAL REGISTRATION:

ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00718341.

PMID:
21209411
DOI:
10.1126/scitranslmed.3001708
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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