Gene expression profiling in the adult Down syndrome brain

Genomics. 2007 Dec;90(6):647-60. doi: 10.1016/j.ygeno.2007.08.005. Epub 2007 Oct 22.


The mechanisms by which trisomy 21 leads to the characteristic Down syndrome (DS) phenotype are unclear. We used whole genome microarrays to characterize for the first time the transcriptome of human adult brain tissue (dorsolateral prefrontal cortex) from seven DS subjects and eight controls. These data were coanalyzed with a publicly available dataset from fetal DS tissue and functional profiling was performed to identify the biological processes central to DS and those that may be related to late onset pathologies, particularly Alzheimer disease neuropathology. A total of 685 probe sets were differentially expressed between adult DS and control brains at a stringent significance threshold (adjusted p value (q) < 0.005), 70% of these being up-regulated in DS. Over 25% of genes on chromosome 21 were differentially expressed in comparison to a median of 4.4% for all chromosomes. The unique profile of up-regulation on chromosome 21, consistent with primary dosage effects, was accompanied by widespread transcriptional disruption. The critical Alzheimer disease gene, APP, located on chromosome 21, was not found to be up-regulated in adult brain by microarray or QPCR analysis. However, numerous other genes functionally linked to APP processing were dysregulated. Functional profiling of genes dysregulated in both fetal and adult datasets identified categories including development (notably Notch signaling and Dlx family genes), lipid transport, and cellular proliferation. In the adult brain these processes were concomitant with cytoskeletal regulation and vesicle trafficking categories, and increased immune response and oxidative stress response, which are likely linked to the development of Alzheimer pathology in individuals with DS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / etiology
  • Alzheimer Disease / genetics
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor / genetics
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 21 / genetics
  • Databases, Genetic
  • Down Syndrome / complications
  • Down Syndrome / genetics*
  • Female
  • Fetus / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Prefrontal Cortex / metabolism*
  • Protease Nexins
  • Proteomics
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / genetics
  • Up-Regulation


  • APP protein, human
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor
  • Protease Nexins
  • Receptors, Cell Surface