Friday, January 4, 2008

Speaking of Neurogenesis . . .

The Changing Minds protocol and all was being discussed on some of the DS lists I am. I know at least part of Dr. Cody's protocol is based on improving Neurogenesis in DS. As I was searching PubMed I happened to run across this abstract that was just published in December. It shows that there are reduced numbers of neurons in the brains of babies with DS (in the hippocampal region) and this is partly caused by an impairment of neurogenesis. Just thought it was interesting and maybe others may find it interesting.

Neurogenesis Impairment and Increased Cell Death Reduce Total Neuron Number in the Hippocampal Region of Fetuses with Down Syndrome.

Dipartimento di Fisiologia Umana e Generale, Università di Bologna, Bologna, Italy.

We previously obtained evidence for reduced cell proliferation in the dentate gyrus (DG) of fetuses with Down syndrome (DS), suggesting that the hippocampal hypoplasia seen in adulthood may be caused by defective early neuron production. The goal of this study was to establish whether DS fetuses (17-21 weeks of gestation) exhibit reduction in total cell number in the DG, hippocampus and parahippocampal gyrus (PHG). Volumes of the cellular layers and cell number were estimated with Cavalieri's principle and the optical fractionator method, respectively. We found that in DS fetuses all investigated structures had a reduced volume and cell number. Analysis of cell phenotype showed that DS fetuses had a higher percentage of cells with astrocytic phenotype but a smaller percentage of cells with neuronal phenotype. Immunohistochemistry for Ki-67, a marker of cycling cells, showed that DS fetuses had less proliferating cells in the germinal zones of the hippocampus and PHG. We additionally found that in the hippocampal region of DS fetuses there was a higher incidence of apoptotic cell death. Results show reduced neuron number in the DS hippocampal region and suggest that this defect is caused by disruption of neurogenesis and apoptosis, two fundamental processes underlying brain building.

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