Research ArticleFragile X Syndrome

Mavoglurant in fragile X syndrome: Results of two randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials

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Science Translational Medicine  13 Jan 2016:
Vol. 8, Issue 321, pp. 321ra5
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aab4109

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The mGluR theory of fragile X, put to the test

People with the genetic disorder fragile X syndrome exhibit a variable constellation of debilitating physical and cognitive problems. Promising evidence from mouse models had raised hopes that an overactive glutamate signaling pathway (mGluR) was a smoking gun at the heart of the disease and that it could be successfully repaired. A pilot study in patients supported the mouse work: Down-regulation of mGluR improved behavioral problems, at least in patients carrying a certain genetic methylation marker. Here, in a larger, well-powered clinical trial, these results are put to the test and come up short. In adolescent or adult fragile X patients, whether they have the methylation marker or not, the glutamate antagonist mavoglurant had no effect on patient behavior. The authors discuss what further trials will be required, however, before permanently putting the mGluR theory of fragile X syndrome out to pasture.

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