Researchers testing the effects of an experimental drug GRN-529 in a group of mice exhibiting autism-like behavior have found that the drug reduces two major characteristics, repetitive behavior and abnormal social interactions, associated with the condition.
Crawley's team found that BTBR mice injected with GRN-529 showed reduced levels of repetitive self-grooming and spent more time around - and sniffing nose-to-nose with - a strange mouse.
Moreover, GRN-529 almost completely stopped repetitive jumping in another strain of mice.
"These inbred strains of mice are similar, behaviorally, to individuals with autism for whom the responsible genetic factors are unknown, which accounts for about three fourths of people with the disorders," noted Crawley. "Given the high costs - monetary and emotional - to families, schools, and health care systems, we are hopeful that this line of studies may help meet the need for medications that treat core symptoms."