View Full Version : Protein dose reverses learning problems in Down's mice

Feb 18th, 2011, 07:17 PM
18 February 2011 by Aria Pearson

LEARNING and memory problems have been reversed in mice with a syndrome that mimics Down's.

Catherine Spong and colleagues at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, found they could prevent developmental problems in mice engineered to have Down's syndrome by injecting their mothers with two proteins, called NAP and SAL, while they were still in the womb. This treatment would carry many risks for humans, so the team wondered whether the proteins might also help adult mice.

Spong's team engineered mice to have an extra chromosome 16, which causes similar problems to those caused by an extra chromosome 21 in humans, the trigger for Down's (see picture). The mice then had to find a submerged platform in a water maze using visual cues. Down's mice usually take twice as long to find the platform as healthy mice. However, after four days of oral treatment with NAP and SAL, the Down's mice learned to navigate the maze just as easily as normal mice.

NAP and SAL are fragments of proteins normally produced by glial cells - brain cells that provide nourishment to neurons. We know that glial cells malfunction in people with Down's. Mice treated with the proteins had markers of healthy glial function that were missing in the untreated Down's mice.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20928004.500-prot... (http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20928004.500-protein-dose-reverses-learning-problems-in-downs-mice.html)

Feb 20th, 2011, 07:42 PM
This is an amazing breakthrough.

Feb 20th, 2011, 08:34 PM
It really is. This could definitely signal independence for people with Down's.

Feb 21st, 2011, 07:50 AM
We can only hope.

Feb 21st, 2011, 08:23 PM
We can only hope.

There still is Amniocentesis.