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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 47

of 'Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1): Management and prognosis'

The HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor lovastatin reverses the learning and attention deficits in a mouse model of neurofibromatosis type 1.
Li W, Cui Y, Kushner SA, Brown RA, Jentsch JD, Frankland PW, Cannon TD, Silva AJ
Curr Biol. 2005;15(21):1961.
Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1) is a common neurological disorder caused by mutations in the gene encoding Neurofibromin, a p21Ras GTPase Activating Protein (GAP). Importantly, NF1 causes learning disabilities and attention deficits. A previous study showed that the learning and memory deficits of a mouse model of NF1 (nf1+/-) appear to be caused by excessive p21Ras activity leading to impairments in long-term potentiation (LTP), a cellular mechanism of learning and memory. Here, we identify lovastatin as a potent inhibitor of p21Ras/Mitogen Activated Protein Kinase (MAPK) activity in the brain. Lovastatin is a specific inhibitor of three-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase, used commonly for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia. We report that lovastatin decreased the enhanced brain p21Ras-MAPK activity of the nf1+/- mice, rescued their LTP deficits, and reversed their spatial learning and attention impairments. Therefore, these results demonstrate that lovastatin may prove useful in the treatment of Neurofibromatosis Type 1.
Department of Neurobiology, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California 90095, USA.