Enviromimetics: Exploring gene-environment interactions to identify therapeutic targets for brain disorders

Caitlin E. McOmish, Anthony J. Hannan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

There is a growing awareness of the central role played by environmental factors in many of the most debilitating neural disorders. Epidemiological studies have suggested a complex balance between genetic and environmental factors in the pathogenesis of neurological and psychiatric conditions. The use of accurate animal models, combined with experimental manipulations such as environmental enrichment, has shown that increased sensory, cognitive and motor stimulation has beneficial effects in a range of CNS disorders, including Huntington's, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other neuro-degenerative diseases. Various studies have identified molecular, structural and functional correlates of this experience-dependent plasticity. The authors propose that the molecular systems which mediate the therapeutic effects of environmental enrichment may provide novel targets for pharmacotherapies. More specifically, they elaborate a theoretical framework for the development of 'enviromimetics', therapeutics that mimic or enhance the beneficial effects of environmental stimulation, targeted towards a wide range of nervous system disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)899-913
Number of pages15
JournalExpert Opinion on Therapeutic Targets
Volume11
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2007
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Activity
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Environmental enrichment
  • Huntington's disease
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Neuroprotection
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Psychiatric disorder

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