Gamma-Secretase Linked to Plaques in Both Alzheimer’s and Down Syndrome


BrightFocus grantee Huaxi Xu, PhD and colleagues at the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute in La Jolla, CA, have published a paper that sheds light on the origins and connections between the characteristic amyloid plaques found in the brains of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and the predisposition of individuals with Down syndrome to develop the same plaques, and exhibit Alzheimer’s-type dementia, as they age.

Xu is senior author of the report by Wang et al, published on October 21 in an early, online edition of Cell Reports.

Down syndrome, also known as trisomy 21, is characterized by an extra copy of chromosome 21. The most common chromosome abnormality in humans, it affects about one per 700 U.S. newborns, and is associated with a mild to moderate intellectual disability.

Historically, BrightFocus has funded at least five additional grants looking into similarities between Alzheimer’s and Down syndrome individuals and disease mechanisms.

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