Israeli researchers have developed a treatment that can prevent developmental delay and autism, according to a report published by the Tel Aviv University on Thursday.
The researchers found that early treatment with the NAP peptide (nucleosome assembling protein) normalizes the growth of mice in a model of ADNP syndrome (dependent on the activity of neuroprotective proteins) in children.
This genetic mutation is one of the main causes of growth retardation and autism in children.
The ADNP gene plays a role in the development of knowledge. Embryos with partial ADNP deficiency will suffer from mental retardation and, in most cases, from autism.
In recent years, with the development of genetic sequence technology, autistic children with mental retardation had random mutations in the ADNP gene, which appear to appear during pregnancy.
The resulting protein is shorter than normal and as a result children suffer from incomplete ADNP (which is ADNP syndrome).
The researchers found that mice with ADNP produced only half the number of synapses (nerve cell junction points) compared to healthy mice – especially in brain regions responsible for cognitive activity, according to the report.
These mice showed developmental delay, social difficulty and sensitivity, such as children with mental retardation and autism.
In the next step, the NAP peptide was infused daily in the affected mice from the time of birth, followed by nasal spray in mice removed from breastfeeding.
The results were very impressive: the mice treated, unlike those not treated, developed normally. They made voices to call their mothers, walk, have a proper memory, managed to distinguish known and unknown mice and developed strength in their muscles.
It has also been shown that the brains of these mice began to produce a correct number of synapses.