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The enhancement of activity rescues the establishment of Mecp2 null neuronal phenotypes

Scaramuzza, Linda, De Rocco, Giuseppina, Desiato, Genni, Cobolli Gigli, Clementina, Chiacchiaretta, Martina, Mirabella, Filippo, Pozzi, Davide, De Simone, Marco, Conforti, Paola, Pagani, Massimiliano, Benfenati, Fabio, Cesca, Fabrizia, Bedogni, Francesco and Landsberger, Nicoletta 2021. The enhancement of activity rescues the establishment of Mecp2 null neuronal phenotypes. EMBO Molecular Medicine 13 (4) , e12433. 10.15252/emmm.202012433

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MECP2 mutations cause Rett syndrome (RTT), a severe and progressive neurodevelopmental disorder mainly affecting females. Although RTT patients exhibit delayed onset of symptoms, several evidences demonstrate that MeCP2 deficiency alters early development of the brain. Indeed, during early maturation, Mecp2 null cortical neurons display widespread transcriptional changes, reduced activity, and defective morphology. It has been proposed that during brain development these elements are linked in a feed-forward cycle where neuronal activity drives transcriptional and morphological changes that further increase network maturity. We hypothesized that the enhancement of neuronal activity during early maturation might prevent the onset of RTT-typical molecular and cellular phenotypes. Accordingly, we show that the enhancement of excitability, obtained by adding to neuronal cultures Ampakine CX546, rescues transcription of several genes, neuronal morphology, and responsiveness to stimuli. Greater effects are achieved in response to earlier treatments. In vivo, short and early administration of CX546 to Mecp2 null mice prolongs lifespan, delays the disease progression, and rescues motor abilities and spatial memory, thus confirming the value for RTT of an early restoration of neuronal activity.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Additional Information: Published under the terms of the CC BY 4.0 license
Publisher: EMBO Press
ISSN: 1757-4676
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 16 June 2021
Date of Acceptance: 27 January 2021
Last Modified: 06 May 2023 08:25

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