Review article| Volume 27, SUPPLEMENT 1, S72-S76, November 2005

Can we relate MeCP2 deficiency to the structural and chemical abnormalities in the Rett brain?


      The mutated gene for Rett syndrome, MECP2, has now been identified in ninety percent of cases. Molecular biologists are immersed in the study of this gene's biology determining how its mutation could be responsible for such an enigmatic phenotype. In this paper the same question is considered, reexamining the structural phenotype of the Rett brain and asking; is MeCP2 present at the appropriate time and place in brain development to influence the structural and chemical abnormalities which characterize the Rett brain? Data from the literature and previous research suggest that MeCP2 is expressed during critical periods of brain development at several sites and in different neurons. It supports the idea that inadequate functioning of MeCP2 alters trophic factors and raises the possibility that replacement of these factors might improve brain function. The availability of mouse models now makes it possible to test such ideas.


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