Collis Brown is a third-year graduate student at Howard University, Department of Pharmacology, supervised by Dr. Tamaro Hudson.
Potential Drug Therapy for Fragile X-Associated Tremor/Ataxia Syndrome
Summary: As a recipient of the National Fragile X Summer Scholars Award, this summer has been nothing short of amazing. My project is titled “Potential Drug Therapy for Fragile X Tremor/Ataxia Syndrome.” There are currently no effective treatments for progression of the disease or cures.
Mitochondrial damage is a recently identified cellular feature of both FXTAS-diagnosed and asymptomatic expansion carriers. FXTAS-derived fibroblasts and neurons have reduced levels of key mitochondrial proteins, increased production of reactive oxygen species, and decreased ATP production. Therefore, the reversal of mitochondrial dysfunction may serve as an early pharmacological intervention in the treatment of FXTAS.
My summer research entailed analyzing the biological efficacy of arachidonyldopamine, macamide, and their analogues in normal human fibroblast and neurons after glucose oxidase induced oxidative damage.
In order to establish proof of principle to induce mitochondrial damage, I focused on determining at what concentration does glucose induce cytotoxicity or disruption in cell viability. I also assessed if this concentration was time dependent. Then, I wanted to determine whether the natural compounds MSKE and Curcumin effect cell viability in human dermal fibroblast cells at variant concentrations over time. Lastly, I examined if the natural compounds MSKE and Curcumin can inhibit the glucose induce disruption of cell viability.
From the results, the current concentration of glucose proved to be ineffective in inducing physiological disruption of cell viability. However, we found an increase in cell viability with the use of Curcumin at 12.5 and 50nM. Curcumin in combination with glucose also showed a similar trend.
Also, the introduction to a network of colleagues this summer was phenomenal, even though each of us are studying different areas of Fragile X all of our goals remain the same, which is to make an impact within the Fragile X community.