Chromosome 21-Encoded microRNAs (mRNAs): Impact on Down's Syndrome and Trisomy-21 Linked Disease

Cell Mol Neurobiol. 2018 Apr;38(3):769-774. doi: 10.1007/s10571-017-0514-0. Epub 2017 Jul 7.


Down's syndrome (DS; also known as trisomy 21; T21) is caused by a triplication of all or part of human chromosome 21 (chr21). DS is the most common genetic cause of intellectual disability attributable to a naturally-occurring imbalance in gene dosage. DS incurs huge medical, healthcare, and socioeconomic costs, and there are as yet no effective treatments for this incapacitating human neurogenetic disorder. There is a remarkably wide variability in the 'phenotypic spectrum' associated with DS; the progression of symptoms and the age of DS onset fluctuate, and there is further variability in the biophysical nature of the chr21 duplication. Besides the cognitive disruptions and dementia in DS patients other serious health problems such as atherosclerosis, altered lipogenesis, Alzheimer's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease), autoimmune disease, various cancers including lymphoma, leukemia, glioma and glioblastoma, status epilepticus, congenital heart disease, hypotonia, manic depression, prostate cancer, Usher syndrome, motor disorders, Hirschsprung disease, and various physical anomalies such as early aging occur at elevated frequencies, and all are part of the DS 'phenotypic spectrum.' This communication will review the genetic link between these fore-mentioned diseases and a small group of just five stress-associated microRNAs (miRNAs)-that include let-7c, miRNA-99a, miRNA-125b, miRNA-155, and miRNA-802-encoded and clustered on the long arm of human chr21 and spanning the chr21q21.1-chr21q21.3 region.

Keywords: 42 Amino acid amyloid-beta (Aβ42) peptide; Alzheimer’s disease (AD); Down’s syndrome; MicroRNA (miRNA); Small non-coding RNAs (sncRNAs); Systemic inflammation.

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / genetics
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 21 / drug effects
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 21 / genetics*
  • Down Syndrome / genetics*
  • Down Syndrome / therapy
  • Gene Dosage
  • Humans
  • Memory / physiology
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • MicroRNAs / therapeutic use
  • Trisomy / genetics*


  • MicroRNAs