Prenatal Intervention Reduces Learning Deficit in Mice with Down Syndrome-like Condition
[Source: Science Daily]
Mice with a condition that serves as a laboratory model for Down syndrome perform better on memory and learning tasks as adults if they were treated before birth with neuroprotective peptides, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health.
Down syndrome results when an individual receives an extra copy of chromosome 21. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Down syndrome occurs in 1 of every 691 births. Features of Down syndrome include delays in mental and physical development and poor muscle tone. These features may vary greatly, ranging from mild to severe.
The researchers studied growth factors that are important at certain key stages of brain development in the womb. Named for the first three amino acids making up their chemical sequence, NAP and SAL, are small peptides (small protein sub units) of two proteins. These two proteins enhance the ability of brain cells to receive and transmit signals, and enable them to survive. (NAP is an abbreviation for NAPVSIPQ and SALfor SALLRSIPA.)
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