Genomic analysis pinpoints a potential target for treatment of Down syndrome

By Bill Hathaway February 25, 2016 A study of changes in the patterns of gene activity in the brains of people with Down syndrome reveals that the formation of the brain’s white matter is affected throughout life, a finding that suggests treatment might be possible for the condition that affects 400,000 Americans. Researchers at Yale University and Boston University found abnormal patterns of gene expression in the developing brain of individuals with Down syndrome that influence the maturation of oligodendrocytes — the cells that make the fatty myelin coating that insulates nerve fibers and make rapid transmission of nerve impulses possible. These expression patterns continue into adulthood and are not limited to early development as previously believed, according to the study published Feb. 25 in the journal Neuron. “Defective myelination…


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