Identification of Critical Periods for the Neurodevelopmental and Behavioral Effects of Oxytocin (Year 2)

Funding Summary

The goal of the second year of this research project is to determine, using a preclinical mouse model of PWS, when do the maximal health and biological effects of oxytocin occur (birth, infancy, puberty, or adult life). The study also examines neurological mechanisms by which oxytocin treatment exerts its effects on feeding and behavior in PWS. This research project is important to optimizing oxytocin as a therapeutic strategy to ameliorate feeding, cognitive, and behavioral symptoms in PWS.

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Lay Abstract

Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a genetic disorder characterized by an insatiable appetite and a variety of neurological and behavioral dysregulations. The hormone oxytocin is a currently a promising topic in PWS research and treatment. Clinical trials have shown that oxytocin treatment can have lasting effects on appetite drive, social interactions and anxiety in patients with PWS, particularly if treatment is done in babies and infants. However, it is less clear whether such long-term beneficial health effects of oxytocin treatment can be seen in adult patients. We know that many key biological processes are established during the perinatal period —that time just prior to and soon after birth – and that alterations in biological systems can be reversed more persistently if intervention occurs during early life. The goal of this research project is to determine, using a pre-clinical mouse model for PWS, when do the maximal health and biological effects of oxytocin occur (birth, infancy, puberty, or adult life). It is also to better understand the neurological mechanisms by which oxytocin treatment exerts its effects on feeding and behavior in PWS. This research project promise to help developing optimal therapeutic strategies to ameliorate and hopefully permanently reverse feeding, neurological, and behavioral symptoms in PWS.

Funded Year:

2020

Awarded to:

Sebastien Bouret, PhD, and Francoise Muscatelli, Ph.D.

Amount:

$170,100

Institution:

INSERM, France

Researcher:

Sebastien Bouret, PhD, and Francoise Muscatelli, PhD

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