Pharmacological inhibition of Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase rescues spatial memory impairments in Neurofibromatosis 1 mutant mice

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Heterozygous Neurofibromatosis 1 (NF1) loss of function mutations are found in 90% of patients with neurofibromatosis, a syndrome associated with disabling cognitive impairment. Drosophila studies have demonstrated a genetic interaction between Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase (Alk) and NF1 in cognitive performance. In addition, pharmacologic inhibition of Alk improves cognitive performance in heterozygous NF1 mutant flies. In this study, we tested whether pharmacological inhibition of Alk in heterozygous NF1 mutant mice attenuates or rescues cognitive impairments. Cognitive impairment of spatial memory retention observed in heterozygous NF1 mutant mice was rescued by the Alk inhibitor. These data support the hypothesis that inhibition of Alk may cognitively benefit patients with Neurofibromatosis 1.

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