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: Senate, House look to update Bush-era education law

Related Stories

Scientists unveil the structure of myelin

Jun 17, 2015

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 ...

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 ...

Recommended for you

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.