Degeneration is a problem for all of us, but it is especially problematic in Down syndrome. It has been well established that loss of neurons is an enormous problem and leads to early decline in function. In the study below, they treated the DS mice with vitamin E. The antioxidant action of the vitamin E improved memory in the DS mice. This study is available free online.
Exp Neurol. 2009 Apr;216(2):278-89. Epub 2008 Dec 10.
Cholinergic degeneration and memory loss delayed by vitamin E in a Down syndrome mouse model.
Lockrow J, Prakasam A, Huang P, Bimonte-Nelson H, Sambamurti K, Granholm AC.
Department of Neuroscience, and the Center on Aging, Medical University of South Carolina, 173 Ashley Avenue, Charleston, SC 29425, USA.
Down syndrome (DS) individuals develop several neuropathological hallmarks seen in Alzheimer's disease, including cognitive decline and the early loss of cholinergic markers in the basal forebrain. These deficits are replicated in the Ts65Dn mouse, which contains a partial trisomy of murine chromosome 16, the orthologous genetic segment to human chromosome 21. Oxidative stress levels are elevated early in DS, and may contribute to the neurodegeneration seen in these individuals. We evaluated oxidative stress in Ts65Dn mice, and assessed the efficacy of long-term antioxidant supplementation on memory and basal forebrain pathology. We report that oxidative stress was elevated in the adult Ts65Dn brain, and that supplementation with the antioxidant vitamin E effectively reduced these markers. Also, Ts65Dn mice receiving vitamin E exhibited improved performance on a spatial working memory task and showed an attenuation of cholinergic neuron pathology in the basal forebrain. This study provides evidence that vitamin E delays onset of cognitive and morphological abnormalities in a mouse model of DS, and may represent a safe and effective treatment early in the progression of DS neuropathology.
PMID: 19135442 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]PMCID: PMC2704550Free PMC Article