Nav: Home

Experimental compound reduces Gulf War illness-like behavior in mice

November 07, 2018

SAN DIEGO - An experimental drug is showing some promise in stopping mood abnormalities and cognitive disorders similar to those seen in people with Gulf War illness, an animal study suggests.

The research was presented Nov. 7 in San Diego at the annual Society for Neuroscience meeting.

"Our results in mice indicate that this small experimental molecule is capable of preventing development of cognitive difficulties and mood deficits if the treatment starts early," said Glenn Lin, the study's principal investigator and a professor of neuroscience at The Ohio State University.

"Importantly, we also found that this small molecule can significantly ameliorate cognitive and mood problems when the symptoms are already present," said Lin, who is part of Ohio State Wexner Medical Center's Neurological Institute.

Gulf War illness is characterized by a cluster of central nervous symptoms believed to have been caused by a combination of wartime exposures that are not well-understood.

"These veterans have difficulty concentrating, difficulty remembering recent information and trouble finding words when speaking. They also often feel down or depressed, irritable, moody and anxious, and have problems getting to sleep or staying asleep," Lin said.

There currently is no medication known to improve these problems.

The Ohio State lab and others working on Gulf War illness have found that dysregulation of glutamate, a major neurotransmitter in the brain, may contribute to the symptoms patients experience. The scientists - including a team at Harvard Medical School - have collaborated to develop potential therapies that normalize the glutamate activity.

The molecule tested at Ohio State normalizes dysregulation of glutamate in the brain, Lin said.

In the study being presented in San Diego, researchers tested the experimental treatment in mice with deficits comparable to those seen in people with Gulf War illness, said lead researcher and post-doctoral researcher Xueqin Wang.

The treated mice were given the compound early, in a study designed to mimic a preventive therapy.

"In people, this would be like giving a drug to soldiers before exposures that could cause illness," she said.

In the treated mice, compared to untreated animals, the researchers saw less behavior that would be comparable to anxiety and depression and also found some evidence of improved memory, she said.

Now, the team is working on a study designed to mimic treatment after symptoms arise - rather than preventive treatment, Wang said.

More research is needed to detail how the molecule may interact with the brain before it could be tested in humans, Lin said, adding that his team and others are studying the compound for use in a variety of neurological disorders, including Alzheimer's disease and depression.
-end-
CONTACT: Chien-liang Glenn Lin, 614-688-5433; Lin.492@osu.edu

Written by Misti Crane, 614-292-5220; Crane.11@osu.edu

Ohio State University

Related Brain Articles:

Study describes changes to structural brain networks after radiotherapy for brain tumors
Researchers compared the thickness of brain cortex in patients with brain tumors before and after radiation therapy was applied and found significant dose-dependent changes in the structural properties of cortical neural networks, at both the local and global level.
Blue Brain team discovers a multi-dimensional universe in brain networks
Using a sophisticated type of mathematics in a way that it has never been used before in neuroscience, a team from the Blue Brain Project has uncovered a universe of multi-dimensional geometrical structures and spaces within the networks of the brain.
New brain mapping tool produces higher resolution data during brain surgery
Researchers have developed a new device to map the brain during surgery and distinguish between healthy and diseased tissues.
Newborn baby brain scans will help scientists track brain development
Scientists have today published ground-breaking scans of newborn babies' brains which researchers from all over the world can download and use to study how the human brain develops.
New test may quickly identify mild traumatic brain injury with underlying brain damage
A new test using peripheral vision reaction time could lead to earlier diagnosis and more effective treatment of mild traumatic brain injury, often referred to as a concussion.
This is your brain on God: Spiritual experiences activate brain reward circuits
Religious and spiritual experiences activate the brain reward circuits in much the same way as love, sex, gambling, drugs and music, report researchers at the University of Utah School of Medicine.
Brain scientists at TU Dresden examine brain networks during short-term task learning
'Practice makes perfect' is a common saying. We all have experienced that the initially effortful implementation of novel tasks is becoming rapidly easier and more fluent after only a few repetitions.
Balancing time & space in the brain: New model holds promise for predicting brain dynamics
A team of scientists has extended the balanced network model to provide deep and testable predictions linking brain circuits to brain activity.
New view of brain development: Striking differences between adult and newborn mouse brain
Spikes in neuronal activity in young mice do not spur corresponding boosts in blood flow -- a discovery that stands in stark contrast to the adult mouse brain.
Map of teenage brain provides evidence of link between antisocial behavior and brain development
The brains of teenagers with serious antisocial behavior problems differ significantly in structure to those of their peers, providing the clearest evidence to date that their behavior stems from changes in brain development in early life, according to new research led by the University of Cambridge and the University of Southampton, in collaboration with the University of Rome Tor Vergata in Italy.

Related Brain Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Jumpstarting Creativity
Our greatest breakthroughs and triumphs have one thing in common: creativity. But how do you ignite it? And how do you rekindle it? This hour, TED speakers explore ideas on jumpstarting creativity. Guests include economist Tim Harford, producer Helen Marriage, artificial intelligence researcher Steve Engels, and behavioral scientist Marily Oppezzo.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#524 The Human Network
What does a network of humans look like and how does it work? How does information spread? How do decisions and opinions spread? What gets distorted as it moves through the network and why? This week we dig into the ins and outs of human networks with Matthew Jackson, Professor of Economics at Stanford University and author of the book "The Human Network: How Your Social Position Determines Your Power, Beliefs, and Behaviours".