Stopping dementia in Down syndrome patients

Published by: Medical X Press
Written by: Kyoto University

Down syndrome is mostly known for the learning disabilities it causes, but patients typically suffer from a wide number of ailments. One is the early onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Using iPS cells from Down syndrome patients, a new study by CiRA researchers suggests that the molecular signs of Alzheimer’s disease result from higher oxidative stress in neurons and that antioxidants could have therapeutic effects.

Healthy individuals have 23 pairs of chromosomes, with one chromosome in each pair inherited from the mother and the other from the father. Down yndrome is caused by trisomy 21, in which chromosome 21 has three copies instead of the normal two. Among the many genes in this chromosome is amyloid precursor protein, or APP. The APP protein is a precursor of beta-amyloid, which makes up the plaques that are commonly seen in the brains of Alzheimer’s disease patients.

“The extra copy of the gene increases the expression of APP and the subsequent production of beta-amyloid, and many Down syndrome patients with cognitive impairment show high levels of beta-amyloid plaques,” explains CiRA Associate Professor Megumu Saito, who led the study. Click here to read the rest of the story

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