Rett syndrome (RTT) is an autism spectrum disorder with an incidence of ~. 1:10,000 females (reviewed in Bird, 2008; Chahrour et al., 2007; Francke, 2006). Affected individuals are apparently normal at birth. Between 6-18. months of age, however, RTT patients begin to exhibit deceleration of head growth, replacement of purposeful hand movements with stereotypic hand wringing, loss of speech, social withdrawal and other autistic features. RTT is caused by loss of function mutations in the gene that encodes methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (Mecp2) (Amir et al., 1999), a transcriptional repressor that targets genes essential for neuronal survival, dendritic growth, synaptogenesis, and activity dependent plasticity. MECP2 is X-linked, and males die soon after birth. Included in the RTT phenotype are cardiorespiratory disorders involving the autonomic nervous system. The respiratory disorders, including the roles of bioaminergic and brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) signaling in the respiratory pathophysiology of RTT have been recently reviewed (Bissonnette et al., 2007a; Ogier et al., 2008; Katz et al., 2009). Here we will cover the work on RTT regarding respiration that has appeared since 2009 as well as cardiovascular abnormalities.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
- Clinical Neurology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience