Low-dose ketamine is safe and effective to treat children with ADNP syndrome, study suggests

NewsGuard 100/100 Score

Results of a small, but unique research study, led by researchers from the Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment at Mount Sinai and published online in Human Genetics and Genomic Advances, suggest that low-dose ketamine is generally safe, well-tolerated and effective to treat clinical symptoms in children diagnosed with ADNP syndrome (also known as Helsmoortel-VanDerAa syndrome), a rare neurodevelopmental disorder caused by mutations in the activity dependent neuroprotective protein (ADNP) gene.

The ADNP gene affects brain formation, development, and function, and the protein produced from it helps control the expression of other genes. ADNP mutations are one of the most common single-gene causes of autism. Ketamine was approved in the United States in 1970 and is used for anesthesia and pain management, and more recently as a treatment for depression. Studies in animal models suggest that low-dose ketamine may be neuroprotective and increase expression of the ADNP gene.

We were intrigued by the preclinical evidence suggesting that low-dose ketamine may increase levels of the ADNP protein and compensate for its loss in ADNP syndrome, so we designed this study to evaluate the safety, tolerability, and behavioral outcomes of low-dose ketamine in children with the syndrome. We also sought to explore the feasibility of using electrophysiological biomarkers and computerized eye-tracking to assess sensitivity to treatment."

Alexander Kolevzon, MD, Clinical Director of the Seaver Autism Center

In order to evaluate the effect of ketamine, the Mount Sinai research team used a single-dose (0.5mg/kg), open-label design, with ketamine infused intravenously over 40 minutes. Ten children with ADNP syndrome, ages six to 12 years, were enrolled. They found ketamine was generally well-tolerated, and there were no serious adverse events. The most common adverse events were elation/silliness (50 percent), fatigue (40 percent), and increased aggression (40 percent). Using parent-report instruments to assess treatment effects, ketamine was associated with improvements in a wide array of domains, including social behavior, attention deficit and hyperactivity, restricted and repetitive behaviors, and sensory sensitivities, a week after administration.

"We are encouraged by these findings, which provide preliminary support for ketamine to help reduce negative effects of this devastating syndrome," Dr. Kolevzon says. "Future studies using a placebo-controlled design and studying the effects of repeated dosing over a longer duration of time and in a larger cohort of participants are needed before ketamine is used clinically, but our study is a promising first step in that process."

Ongoing studies are using RNA sequencing to measure change in ADNP expression and other genes, as well as DNA methylation analysis, which has been previously described as relevant in ADNP syndrome. DNA methylation regulates and silences the expression of genes and is vital for embryonic development. Increased occurrence of rare and extreme DNA methylation levels have been linked with neurodevelopmental disorders and congenital anomalies.

Journal reference:

Kolevzon, A., et al. (2022) An Open-Label Study Evaluating the Safety, Behavioral, and Electrophysiological Outcomes of Low-Dose Ketamine in Children with ADNP Syndrome. Human Genetics and Genomic Advances. doi.org/10.1016/j.xhgg.2022.100138.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.

You might also like...
Researchers find new clues to understanding the progression of primary membranous nephropathy