New Research suggests that antibiotics that are used to treat tuberculosis have been found to potentially alleviate the social impairments that is associated with autism spectrum disorder. It was discovered by the new study that the drug d-cycloserine boosted the function of a gene called PCDH10 and had improved social impairments when administered to mice. Prof. Edward Brodkin of the University of Pennsylvania and senior author of the study reported their findings in the Biological Psychiatry journal.
Autism spectrum disorder or ASD is a disorder that is characterized by problems with communication, behavior and social skills. The CDC estimates that around 1 in 68 children in the United States are afflicted with ASD. The condition is more common in boys than girls.
Studies suggested that genetics may play a role in ASD. PCDH10 is a gene that has been associated with the condition. According Brodkin, PCDH10 is expressed in the amygdala, a part of the brain that has been
linked to behavioral and social impairments in people with autism. Researchers in the study administered d-cycloserine a drug that is used to treat tuberculosis and urinary tract infections. The team explained that the antibiotic is known to boost NMDA glutamate receptor function. In previous studies, it was found that the drug is also effective in treating anxiety disorders.
After treatment with d-cycloserine, scientists identified improvement in social impairments in mice. The study sheds light on the mechanisms how PCDH10 contributes social deficits in people with ASD and it also points to potential treatment for impairments. Prof. Brodkin notes that more research is required in both animals and humans before the safety and effectiveness of d-cycloserine is established for the treatment of ASD as reported by Medical News Today.
In another study, a trial of oral Vancomycin an antibiotic given at 125 mg four times a day in a 12 week trial was given to a 4-1/2 Caucasian boy with chronic diarrhea and autism. After three days into the therapy, a hyperactivity pattern emerged that lasted for four days followed by two days of lethargy. A rapid clinical improvement was seen and the boy became affectionate and calm. After discontinuation of the treatment, behavioral deterioration was observed as reported by The Healing Center On-Line.