Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Over-expression of a protein responsible for neuronal damage in Down's syndrome sufferers

Date:
February 10, 2012
Source:
Centre for Genomic Regulation
Summary:
A new study reproduced the same morphological and functional patterns of neuronal connections in a transgenic mouse as seen in people with Down’s syndrome. Regulating the activity of this protein produced very similar neuronal growth to that in a healthy mouse.

In culture, the neurones which over-express Dyrk1A display reduced dendritic spine density (right panel). In the lower image it can be seen that they are finer and more elongated, as in the brains of people with DS, which affects information processing.
Credit: Image courtesy of Centre for Genomic Regulation

The study coordinated by the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) reproduced the same morphological and functional patterns of neuronal connections in a transgenic mouse as seen in people with Down's syndrome. Regulating the activity of this protein produced very similar neuronal growth to that in a healthy mouse.

The neural dendritic spine structures make connections between neurons possible (the neuronal synapses). In the case of patients with Down's syndrome, the morphology of the neuronal information-receiving system, the dendritic tree, is altered. The dendrites are shorter and the trees are less complex, reducing and altering the flow of information via the neuron endings. It is possibly this that inhibits the development of certain normal cognitive skills, one of the characteristics of people with Down's syndrome.

Three copies of the DYRK1A gene located on chromosome 21 are present in Down's syndrome sufferers. In the study published in the journal Cerebral Cortex, the researchers found that the over-expression caused by excess copies of this protein in mice produces a dendritic morphology similar to that seen in the brains of people with Down's syndrome. In these mice, the dendritic spines displayed an immature morphological aspect impeding the normal development of synaptic connections. Additionally, the activity of these neurons was reduced. This would not only directly affect the processing of information in the brain, the so-called computing power of the brain, but also the neuronal plasticity, reducing the capacity for learning.

"We see that in transgenic mice with excess quantities of this protein, the dendritic branching process in newborns alters in a very similar way to that displayed by a human with Down's syndrome" says Mara Dierssen, head of the Neurobehavioral Phenotyping of Mouse Models of Disease group at the CRG. "This discovery may help scientists find new molecular therapeutic targets to aid not only the treatment of Down's syndrome but also other pathologies involving intellectual disability, such as Fragile X syndrome

The research was conducted in collaboration with various institutions, including the Cajal Laboratory of Cortical Circuits of the Technical University of Madrid, CIBERER, CIBERNED, the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Barcelona and the Laboratory of Developmental Psychology at the University of Amsterdam with the aid of the Ministry of Science and Innovation, the Ministry of Health and the European "CureFXS" project.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Centre for Genomic Regulation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M. Martinez de Lagran, R. Benavides-Piccione, I. Ballesteros-Yanez, M. Calvo, M. Morales, C. Fillat, J. DeFelipe, G. J. A. Ramakers, M. Dierssen. Dyrk1A Influences Neuronal Morphogenesis Through Regulation of Cytoskeletal Dynamics in Mammalian Cortical Neurons. Cerebral Cortex, 2012; DOI: 10.1093/cercor/bhr362

Cite This Page:

Centre for Genomic Regulation. "Over-expression of a protein responsible for neuronal damage in Down's syndrome sufferers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 February 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120210133245.htm>.
Centre for Genomic Regulation. (2012, February 10). Over-expression of a protein responsible for neuronal damage in Down's syndrome sufferers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120210133245.htm
Centre for Genomic Regulation. "Over-expression of a protein responsible for neuronal damage in Down's syndrome sufferers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120210133245.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 22, 2014) Big pharma on the move as Novartis boss, Joe Jimenez, tells Reuters about plans to transform his company via an asset exchange with GSK, and Astra Zeneca shares surge on speculation that Pfizer is looking for a takeover. Joanna Partridge reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A new study finds most crimes committed by people with mental illness are not caused by symptoms of their illness or disorder. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is given hands-on demonstrations Tuesday of some of the newest research from DARPA _ the military's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. 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:
from the past week

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