Increased amyloid beta protein levels in children and adolescents with Down syndrome.J Neurol Sci. 2007 Mar 15; 254(1-2):22-7.JN
Persons with Down syndrome (DS) (40 years and older) have neuropathological changes characteristic of Alzheimer disease (AD). Soluble forms of amyloid beta (Abeta) peptide generated from amyloid precursor protein (APP) end at C-terminal residues 40 and 42. The presence of the apolipoprotein E (ApoE) epsilon4 allele is a significant risk factor for the development of sporadic AD. Although preliminary studies have shown an association of plasma Abeta42 and ApoE epsilon4 allele in older persons with DS who have dementia, the relationship between plasma Abeta40 and Abeta42 levels and ApoE phenotypes in children with DS has not been examined. Inflammation might play a role in the growth of DS brains. Neopterin is an immune activation marker for the cell-mediated immune response.
To examine the levels of plasma Abeta40, Abeta42, and neopterin in children or adolescents with DS or controls.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Blood was collected from DS (N=35; 7+/-3.8 years old) and their siblings (N=34; 10+/-4.5). Plasma Abeta40 and Abeta42, and neopterin levels were quantitated by sandwich ELISA.
Abeta40 and Abeta42 levels were higher in DS than controls. The ratio of Abeta42/Abeta40 was lower in DS than in controls. There were significant negative correlations between age and Abeta40 in DS and controls, and between age and Abeta42 levels in DS but not in controls. There was no association of Abeta40 or Abeta42 levels with Apo E in either group. Neopterin levels were higher in DS than controls, and the levels were not correlated with Abeta40 and Abeta42 levels in DS or controls.
The over expression of APP gene in DS leads to increases in plasma Abeta40 and Abeta42 levels before plaque formation in DS brain. Higher neopterin concentrations in DS reflect inflammatory cell activation. Further studies are needed to determine whether DS children with lower plasma Abeta42/Abeta40 ratios are at increased risk of developing AD during aging than those with higher ratios.