[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 10-Jan-2013
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Contact: Tom Vasich
tmvasich@uci.edu
949-824-6455
University of California - Irvine

UCI study reveals why Down syndrome boosts susceptibility to other conditions

Breakdown in energy metabolism within brain cells noted as a cause

Irvine, Calif., Jan. 10, 2013 A study led by UC Irvine researchers has revealed some of the underlying neural factors that explain why people with Down syndrome are more susceptible to Alzheimer's disease, diabetes and autistic spectrum disorders.

Jorge Busciglio, associate professor of neurobiology & behavior, and colleagues analyzed the cellular and molecular mechanisms leading to oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction in Down syndrome individuals. They found that this breakdown in energy metabolism within brain cells contributes to the higher probability of these other conditions.

Down syndrome occurs when a person has 47 chromosomes instead of the usual 46. Estimates suggest that 25 percent or more of individuals over 35 with Down syndrome show signs of Alzheimer's-type dementia. This percentage increases with age. The incidence of Alzheimer's disease in people with Down syndrome is roughly three to five times greater than in the general population.

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Pablo Helguera, Jaqueline Seiglie and Michael Hanna of UC Irvine; Jose Rodriguez of UCLA; and Gustavo Helguera of Argentina's University of Buenos Aires also contributed to the study, which appears in the Jan. 8 issue of Cell Metabolism and was supported by the Larry L. Hillblom Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is a top-ranked university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Led by Chancellor Michael Drake since 2005, UCI is among the most dynamic campuses in the University of California system, with more than 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students, 1,100 faculty and 9,400 staff. Orange County's second-largest employer, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $4.3 billion. For more UCI news, visit news.uci.edu.



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