Feb 21, 2019 | Updated: 08:27 AM EST

Diabetes Drug Metformin May Be The Treatment For Autism Condition Called Fragile X Syndrome

May 17, 2017 04:43 PM EDT


Metformin has been known to control the sugar of those experiencing Type 2 diabetes for over decades now. However, a recent study suggests that the type 2 diabetes drug might be the possible cure for an autism condition that is called Fragile X Syndrome.

According to Medical News Today, the Fragile X Syndrome is caused by an abnormality in the gene FMR1 which is responsible for making proteins for brain activities. The condition was said to be inherited by genes thus making it an inherited intellectual disability.

Researchers from the McGill University and the Université de Montréal in Canada along with a team from the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom studied whether does the metformin in a model mouse with the Fragile X Syndrome really has therapeutic effects. The model mice were said to have their FMR1 gene defected, which causes them to develop some of the symptoms of the syndrome as the study published in the journal Nature Medicine stated.

With that said, the symptoms that were experienced by the mice with the Fragile X Syndrome were identified to be decreased socialization, increased grooming along with structural abnormalities in the dendritic connections in their brain cells. The result from the study then showed that metformin "corrected the dendritic abnormalities" after 10 days of injecting the mice with it as Science Daily reported.

"What is more complicated is the molecular mechanism, how exactly it works. We need to study, in the lab, what molecules metformin interacts with and what cellular functions are affected," Ilse Gantois, a research associate in Sonenberg's lab at McGill stated. The team then wanted to test metformin in other mice to see if the drug works on other types of autism aside from the Fragile X Syndrome.

Co-senior author Nahum Sonenberg, a professor in the Department of Biochemistry at McGill then concluded that metformin is indeed a wonder drug to its treatment capabilities along cancer and the Fragile X Syndrome. Rest assured, the team also aims to tweak the drug as well to make it more efficient for other diseases as well.

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