Down syndrome (DS) is caused by three copies of human chromosome 21 (Hsa21) and results in phenotypes including intellectual disability and skeletal deficits. Ts65Dn mice have three copies of ~50% of the genes homologous to Hsa21 and display phenotypes associated with DS, including cognitive deficits and skeletal abnormalities. DYRK1A is found in three copies in humans with Trisomy 21 and in Ts65Dn mice, and is involved in a number of critical pathways including neurological development and osteoclastogenesis. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), the main polyphenol in green tea, inhibits Dyrk1a activity. We have previously shown that EGCG treatment (~10mg/kg/day) improves skeletal abnormalities in Ts65Dn mice, yet the same dose, as well as ~20mg/kg/day did not rescue deficits in the Morris water maze spatial learning task (MWM), novel object recognition (NOR) or balance beam task (BB). In contrast, a recent study reported that an EGCG-containing supplement with a dose of 2-3mg per day (~40-60mg/kg/day) improved hippocampal-dependent task deficits in Ts65Dn mice. The current study investigated if an EGCG dosage similar to that study would yield similar improvements in either cognitive or skeletal deficits. Ts65Dn mice and euploid littermates were given EGCG [0.4mg/mL] or a water control, with treatments yielding average daily intakes of ~50mg/kg/day EGCG, and tested on the multivariate concentric square field (MCSF)-which assesses activity, exploratory behavior, risk assessment, risk taking, and shelter seeking-and NOR, BB, and MWM. EGCG treatment failed to improve cognitive deficits; EGCG also produced several detrimental effects on skeleton in both genotypes. In a refined HPLC-based assay, its first application in Ts65Dn mice, EGCG treatment significantly reduced kinase activity in femora but not in the cerebral cortex, cerebellum, or hippocampus. Counter to expectation, 9-week-old Ts65Dn mice exhibited a decrease in Dyrk1a protein levels in Western blot analysis in the cerebellum. The lack of beneficial therapeutic behavioral effects and potentially detrimental skeletal effects of EGCG found in Ts65Dn mice emphasize the importance of identifying dosages of EGCG that reliably improve DS phenotypes and linking those effects to actions of EGCG (or EGCG-containing supplements) in specific targets in brain and bone.
Keywords: Bone; Cognition; Down syndrome; EGCG; Mouse model; Trisomy 21.
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