Increased Mammalian Target of Rapamycin Signaling Contributes to the Accumulation of Protein Oxidative Damage in a Mouse Model of Down's Syndrome

Neurodegener Dis. 2016;16(1-2):62-8. doi: 10.1159/000441419. Epub 2015 Nov 26.


Background: Neurodegenerative diseases are characterized by increased levels of oxidative stress and an altered mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)/autophagy axis; however, the mutual relationship between these two events is controversial. Previous studies in Down's syndrome (DS) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) suggested that the accumulation of protein oxidative damage results from the increased free radical production, mainly related to metabolic alterations, mitochondrial degeneration and amyloid-β deposition, and aberrant activity of protein degradative systems.

Summary: This study analyzed mTOR signaling in Ts65Dn mice, a model of DS, at 6 and 12 months of age compared with euploid mice showing the early aberrant hyperphosphorylation of mTOR coupled with the reduction of autophagosome formation. Moreover, the evaluation of protein oxidation shows an increase in protein nitration and protein-bound 4-hydroxynonenal in 12-month-old Ts65Dn mice suggesting the potential involvement of altered autophagy in the buildup of protein oxidative damage. In addition, data obtained on cell culture support the protective role of autophagy in reducing protein oxidation.

Key messages: Overall, this study provides further evidence for the role of mTOR hyperactivation and reduced autophagy in the accumulation of protein oxidative damage during DS and AD pathologies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Down Syndrome / metabolism*
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mice, Inbred C3H
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Phosphorylation
  • Signal Transduction
  • Sirolimus / metabolism
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*


  • MTOR protein, human
  • mTOR protein, mouse
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Sirolimus