Cells involved with Down syndrome restored

Jan 24, 2006

Johns Hopkins University scientists in Baltimore say they've restored the normal growth of nerve cells in the brains of mouse models of Down syndrome.

The restoration occurred in the cerebellum -- the rear, lower part of the brain that controls signals from the muscles to coordinate balance and motor learning.

The finding is important, investigators say, because the cells rescued represent potential targets for therapy in human babies with Down syndrome. And it suggests similar success for other DS-related disruptions of brain growth might lead to additional treatments, perhaps prenatally, that restore memory and the ability to orient oneself in space.

Down syndrome is caused by an extra chromosome 21, a condition called trisomy -- a third copy of a chromosome in addition to the normal two copies. Children with Down syndrome have a variety of abnormalities, such as slowed growth, abnormal facial features and mental retardation. The brain is always small and has a greatly reduced number of neurons.

A report on the Hopkins work appears in the Jan. 24 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: New book explores link between emotions and contemporary racial violence

Related Stories

Microbes help produce serotonin in gut

Apr 09, 2015

Although serotonin is well known as a brain neurotransmitter, it is estimated that 90 percent of the body's serotonin is made in the digestive tract. In fact, altered levels of this peripheral serotonin have ...

Neutron diffraction shows how myelin gets on your nerves

Dec 10, 2014

New research has shed light on the way in which our nerves conduct electrical signals around our bodies. The structure of myelin, the layer of insulating fat surrounding nerve cells of vertebrates, has now ...

Final pieces to the circadian clock puzzle found

Sep 14, 2014

Researchers at the UNC School of Medicine have discovered how two genes – Period and Cryptochrome – keep the circadian clocks in all human cells in time and in proper rhythm with the 24-hour day, as well ...

Understanding how the brain retrieves memories

Jul 17, 2014

(Medical Xpress)—Livermore scientists are developing electrode array technology for monitoring brain activity as part of a collaborative research project with UC San Francisco to better understand how the ...

Recommended for you

Why do people waste so much time at work?

22 hours ago

Based on research undertaken at Cass Business School, City University London, Professor Fleming explores how the act of working is no longer about survival and self-preservation, but has now morphed into ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.