The Nature Communications journal has published an article in which scientists at the UC Davis School of Medicine and Schriners Hospitals for Children (North California) have just identified the role of astroglial cells (that support neurones) in the development of Down Syndrome and potential treatment of anomalies triggered by this condition.
Wenbin Deng, Accredited Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, and the main author of the study explained: “We have developed a human cell model in order to investigate the development of the brain in Down Syndrome patients. This has allowed us to carry out detailed physiological studies and to establish potential new treatments“. Finally, he added that, “this model is far more realistic than traditional animal models because it is derived from the patients’ own cells“.
The second discovery focuses on the potential influence of an antibiotic (minocycline) on these astroglial cells to correct abnormal interactions between these cells and the developing neurones. Once again, the use of iPS cells for molecular screening has proved critical.