Myelination defects in Down syndrome

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Science  06 May 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6286, pp. 669-670
DOI: 10.1126/science.352.6286.669-e

In Down syndrome (DS), an extra chromosome 21 causes a variety of developmental and cognitive disabilities. Olmos-Serrano et al., have compared the transcriptome of postmortem brains from normal donors as well as those with DS, surveying developmental stages from prenatal to adult. Of over 17,000 genes profiled from two regions of the brain, about 4% revealed abnormal expression. Dysregulated genes, found across the whole genome and throughout the age range, grouped by function. One group of genes affected oligodendrocytes and myelination. Indeed, myelination was deficient in a mouse model of DS, contributing to defective transmission of neural signals. The authors speculate that poor myelination may underlie the problems with learning, memory, and age-related neurodegeneration that characterize DS.

Neuron 89, 1208–1222 (2016).

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