Neuronal and glial gene expression in neocortex of down’s syndrome and alzheimer’s disease

Karin L. Goodison, Irma M. Parhad, Charles L. White, Anders A F Sima, Arthur W. Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


The association cortex of Down’s syndrome (DS) predictably and prematurely undergoes neurofibrillary degeneration of Alzheimer type. Hence studies of DS are potentially useful in defining the earliest pathogenetic events in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Previous reports have described altered expression of several mRNAs in AD cortex; but the pathogenetic stage at which expression of these mRNAs begins to deviate from the norm has not been defined. We have examined this issue in neocortex of DS. Expression of mRNAs, known to be altered in AD cortex, was studied by Northern analysis, comparing frontal cortex of DS (15-45 years) with age-matched controls and with AD. Chromosome 21- and non-21-encoded mRNAs were studied, including transcripts expressed preferentially in neurons (neurofilament light subunit and amyloid precursor transcripts) and in glia (glial fibrillary acidic protein [GFAP] and SI00/3). Chromosome 21-encoded mRNAs were increased in DS cortex as expected. Except in the DS case with extensive neurofibrillary degeneration, GFAP was expressed at levels significantly below the control, suggesting that trisomy 21 exerts a suppressive effect on GFAP gene expression. We found no instance in which AD-type changes of transcript expression preceded the appearance of neurofibrillary degeneration. The findings indicate that in trisomy 21, certain changes of mRNA prevalence previously described for AD neocortex are not a necessary antecedent to neurofibrillary degeneration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)192-198
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of neuropathology and experimental neurology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1993


  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amyloid precursor protein
  • Down’s syndrome
  • Glial fibrillary acidic protein
  • Messenger rna

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Neuronal and glial gene expression in neocortex of down’s syndrome and alzheimer’s disease'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this