Missing Brain Enzymes cause Fear

By  , Agency News
Jul 17, 2013

Frightened womanA new study by the neuroscientists and molecular biologists has shown that a missing brain enzyme (protein) is found to cause abnormal levels of fear. According to the scientists of University of Southern California it may be the culprit in cases of severe over-worry, where the fear perseveres even when there’s nothing of which to be afraid.

To conduct this research, the researchers examined mice without the enzymes monoamine oxidase A and B (MAO A/B), which sit next to each other in our genetic code as well as on that of mice. After examining properly, they have found a connection between deficiencies of these enzymes in humans and developmental disabilities along the autism spectrum like clinical perseverance, which is the inability to change or modulate actions along with social context.

To this, senior author Jean C. Shih, USC Professor and Boyd and Elsie Welin Professor of Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the USC School of Pharmacy and the Keck School of Medicine of USC, said that these mice may serve as an interesting model to develop interventions to these neuropsychiatric disorders. The severity of the changes in the MAO A/B knockout mice compared to MAO A knockout mice supports the idea that the severity of autistic-like features may be correlated to the amounts of monoamine levels, particularly at early developmental stages.


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