Down syndrome and the molecular pathogenesis resulting from trisomy of human chromosome 21


Chromosome copy number aberrations, anueploidies, are common in the human population but generally lethal. However, trisomy of human chromosome 21 is compatible with life and people born with this form of aneuploidy manifest the features of Down syndrome, named after Langdon Down who was a 19(th) century British physician who first described a group of people with this disorder. Down syndrome includes learning and memory deficits in all cases, as well as many other features which vary in penetrance and expressivity in different people. While Down syndrome clearly has a genetic cause - the extra dose of genes on chromosome 21 - we do not know which genes are important for which aspects of the syndrome, which biochemical pathways are disrupted, or, generally how design therapies to ameliorate the effects of these disruptions. Recently, with new insights gained from studying mouse models of Down syndrome, specific genes and pathways are being shown to be involved in the pathogenesis of the disorder. This is opening the way for exciting new studies of potential therapeutics for aspects of Down syndrome, particularly the learning and memory deficits.

Journal details

Volume 24
Issue number 2
Pages 87-99
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