Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Reducing Alzheimer's-related protein in young brains improves learning in Down syndrome animal model

Date:
June 4, 2010
Source:
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Summary:
Reducing a protein called beta-amyloid in young mice with a condition resembling Down syndrome improves their ability to learn, researchers have found.

Reducing a protein called beta-amyloid in young mice with a condition resembling Down syndrome improves their ability to learn, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found.

Related Articles


"This preliminary study in the animal model raises the intriguing possibility that drugs that lower beta-amyloid levels might offer some benefit to children with Down syndrome," said Dr. Craig Powell, assistant professor of neurology at UT Southwestern and co-lead author of the study, which is available in PLoS ONE, the Public Library of Science's online journal.

Down syndrome, a genetic disease that causes learning disabilities and physical problems, is caused by an extra copy of chromosome 21. This chromosome includes the genes for proteins that produce beta-amyloid, a protein that accumulates in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease and is believed to contribute to cognitive decline.

Children with Down syndrome have increased normal levels of beta-amyloid in their brains, but it is unknown whether the increased levels affect intellectual abilities, Dr. Powell said. By age 40, nearly all adults with Down syndrome develop signs of Alzheimer's, with dementia developing in their 50s and 60s.

For the study, the researchers used mice with a genetic anomaly that closely mimics human Down syndrome. This type of mice have three copies of a stretch of genes, including those related to beta-amyloid production, and also display learning disabilities, including difficulties learning a standard water maze.

The scientists treated four-month-old genetically altered mice with DAPT, an experimental drug that blocks gamma-secretase, an enzyme essential for beta-amyloid production. A four-day treatment lowered beta-amyloid levels by 40 percent and significantly improved the rodents' performance to the point that they learned the maze as quickly as normal mice.

Dr. Powell, however, cautioned that the blocked enzyme is involved in many brain functions besides creating beta-amyloid.

"Current gamma-secretase inhibitors may have untoward side effects," he said. "The goal now is to identify drugs that block the ability of gamma-secretase to create amyloid without blocking its ability to perform its other tasks."

Dr. Jacqueline Blundell, former postdoctoral fellow at UT Southwestern, also participated in the study, as did researchers from The Rockefeller University and Columbia University Medical Center.

The study was funded by the Lowe Foundation, the Crystal Charity Ball, the Van Beber family, the David M. Crowley Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, The Fisher Center for Alzheimer's Disease Research Foundation and the F.M. Kirby Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by UT Southwestern Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. William J Netzer, Craig Powell, Yi Nong, Jacqueline Blundell, Lili Wong, Karen Duff, Marc Flajolet, Paul Greengard. Lowering β-Amyloid Levels Rescues Learning and Memory in a Down Syndrome Mouse Model. PLoS ONE, 2010; DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0010943

Cite This Page:

UT Southwestern Medical Center. "Reducing Alzheimer's-related protein in young brains improves learning in Down syndrome animal model." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 June 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100603172119.htm>.
UT Southwestern Medical Center. (2010, June 4). Reducing Alzheimer's-related protein in young brains improves learning in Down syndrome animal model. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100603172119.htm
UT Southwestern Medical Center. "Reducing Alzheimer's-related protein in young brains improves learning in Down syndrome animal model." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100603172119.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Yoga can help your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and heart just as much as biking and walking does, a new study suggests. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins