'Darting' Mice May Hold Clues to ADHD, Autism, Bipolar Disorder
[Source: Science Daily]
A darting mouse may hold an important clue in the development of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), autism and bipolar disorder, according to a study by a Vanderbilt University-led research team recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The transgenic mouse, into which was inserted a rare human genetic variation in the dopamine transporter (DAT), could lead to improvements in the diagnosis and treatment of these all-too-common brain disorders, said Randy Blakely, Ph.D., the report’s senior author.
The mutation, which has been found in people with ADHD, autism and bipolar disorder, affects the function of DAT, a protein that regulates the brain’s supply of the neurotransmitter by removing excess dopamine from the synapse, or the space between nerve cells.
The DAT mutation causes the transporter to become “leaky” and spew out dopamine like “a vacuum cleaner in reverse,” said Blakely, Allan D. Bass Professor of Pharmacology.
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