Washington, August 13 (ANI): A protein long associated with diarrhea and intestinal function may have a role in ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), and other neurological disorders, according to a new study.
Mitchell Cohen, M.D., U.S. author of the study and director of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center together with scientists in China discovered that the receptor guanylyl cyclase-C (GC-C) - primarily thought to be based in the intestine - is also expressed in critical areas of the brain.
Using a mouse model developed in Dr. Ralph Giannella's laboratory at the University of Cincinnati, in which the GC-C receptor is deleted, or knocked out, the researchers found the mice exhibit hyperactivity and attention deficits. It is the first time that GC-C has been linked to neuropsychiatric disorder, according to the researchers.
"We show that the neurons selectively express GC-C and that its activation amplifies the excitatory responses mediated by other receptors on dopamine neurons in the midbrain," said senior author on the study Dr. Minmin Luo. "Working through a protein kinase called PKG, GC-C activity increases brain dopamine levels and thus regulate mouse attention and activity level."
"Efforts to develop activators or inhibitors of the GC-C/PKG signaling pathway may lead to novel treatments for other disorders, such schizophrenia, Parkinson's disease and addiction."
The study was recently published in the journal Science. (ANI)