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Research of Down syndrome-related genes
Research of Down syndrome-related genes is based on studying the genes located on chromosome 21. In general, this leads to an overexpression of the genes.  Understanding the genes involved may help to target medical treatment to individuals with Down syndrome. It is estimated that chromosome 21 contains 200 to 250 genes. Recent research has identified a region of the chromosome that contains the main genes responsible for the pathogenesis of Down syndrome, located proximal to 21q22.3. The search for major genes involved in Down syndrome characteristics is normally in the region 21q21–21q22.3.
Some suspected genes involved in features of Down syndrome are given in the Table 1:
Additional recommended knowledge
Amyloid beta (APP)
One chromosome 21 gene that might predispose Down syndrome individuals to develop Alzheimer's pathology is the gene that encodes the precursor of the amyloid protein. Neurofibrillary tangles and amyloid plaques are commonly found in both Down syndrome and Alzheimer's individuals. Layer II of the entorhinal cortex and the subiculum, both critical for memory consolidation, are among the first affected by the damage. A gradual decrease in the number of nerve cells throughout the cortex follows. A few years ago, Johns Hopkins scientists created a genetically engineered mouse called Ts65Dn (segmental trisomy 16 mouse) as an excellent model for studying the Down syndrome. Ts65Dn mouse has genes on chromosomes 16 that are very similar to the human chromosome 21 genes. Recently, researchers have used this transgenic mouse to connect APP to cognitive problems among the mice.
Superoxide dismutase (SOD1)
Some (but not all) studies have shown that the activity of the superoxide dismutase enzyme is elevated in Down syndrome. SOD converts oxygen radicals to hydrogen peroxide and water. Oxygen radicals produced in cells can be damaging to cellular structures, hence the important role of SOD. However, the hypothesis says that once SOD activity increases disproportionately to enzymes responsible for removal of hydrogen peroxide (e.g., glutathione peroxidase), the cells will suffer from a peroxide damage. Some scientists believe that the treatment of Down syndrome neurons with free radical scavengers can substantially prevent neuronal degeneration. Oxidative damage to neurons results in rapid brain aging similar to that of Alzheimer's disease.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Research_of_Down_syndrome-related_genes". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|