An Early Marker For Alzheimer-Type Dementia?

A group of investigators of the University of Cagliari found an interesting association between chemokinines and dementia in Down’s syndrome, which may have far reaching implications.

People with Down`s syndrome (DS) show early Alzheimer-like dementia. It has been suggested that the pro-inflammatory cytokine class plays a role in Alzheimer`s disease (AD). The study aims at verifying whether pro-inflammatory cytokines in DS are correlated with age, affective symptoms and intellectual decline to a different degree than in subjects with non-DS learning disabilities: Cases: 19 subjects with DS; controls: sex- and age-matched individuals with learning disabilities caused by perinatal ischaemic damage. The level of mental retardation was assessed according to DSM-IV; psychopathological symptoms were measured by the Assessment and Information Rating Profile. Serum levels of cytokines were determined with ELISA. DS patients showed higher levels of cytokines and chemokines, with the exception of RANTES; but the only significant difference detected was for MIP-1. A correlation between the degree of mental retardation and IL-6, and between MIP-l and age was found in patients with DS, but not in controls. The data obtained suggest a possible involvement of chemokines in the inflammatory and degenerative processes similar to AD in DS. Further longitudinal research is required to confirm these findings.

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