Biotech Updates

Gene Editing Reduces Anxiety-Related Behavior in Mice

June 29, 2023

Scientists have produced a noninvasive technique of delivering CRISPR-Cas9 to the brain of mice, which knocks out a gene related to anxiety and depression.

Therapeutic agents have difficulty accessing the brain due to a blood-brain barrier (BBB) that prevents substances from entering the brain via blood. To help with this issue, the researchers from Boise State University and Cognigenics conducted an intranasal delivery of CRISPR-Cas9 to check if it could cross the blood-brain barrier and knock out the HTR2A gene. The HTR2A gene modulates the availability of serotonin and regulates mood.

A low amount of serotonin has been implicated in depression and anxiety. With the successful noninvasive delivery of CRISPR-Cas9, the BBB was bypassed, and the neuronal HTR2A receptor pathways were modulated. The results of the study offer a foundation for creating innovative therapeutic strategies for different neurological disorders.

Check out the journal article in PNAS Nexus for more information.

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