Increased levels of inflammatory plasma markers and obesity risk in a mouse model of Down syndrome

Free Radic Biol Med. 2018 Jan:114:122-130. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2017.09.021. Epub 2017 Sep 25.


Down syndrome (DS) is caused by the trisomy of human chromosome 21 and is the most common genetic cause of intellectual disability. In addition to the intellectual deficiencies and physical anomalies, DS individuals present a higher prevalence of obesity and subsequent metabolic disorders than healthy adults. There is increasing evidence from both clinical and experimental studies indicating the association of visceral obesity with a pro-inflammatory status and recent studies have reported that obese people with DS suffer from low-grade systemic inflammation. However, the link between adiposity and inflammation has not been explored in DS. Here we used Ts65Dn mice, a validated DS mouse model, for the study of obesity-related inflammatory markers. Ts65Dn mice presented increased energy intake, and a positive energy balance leading to increased adiposity (fat mass per body weight), but did not show overweight, which only was apparent upon high fat diet induced obesity. Trisomic mice also had fasting hyperglycemia and hypoinsulinemia, and normal incretin levels. Those trisomy-associated changes were accompanied by reduced ghrelin plasma levels and slightly but not significantly increased leptin levels. Upon a glucose load, Ts65Dn mice showed normal increase of incretins accompanied by over-responses of leptin and resistin, while maintaining the hyperglycemic and hypoinsulinemic phenotype. These changes in the adipoinsular axis were accompanied by increased plasma levels of inflammatory biomarkers previously correlated with obesity galectin-3 and HSP72, and reduced IL-6. Taken together, these results suggest that increased adiposity, and pro-inflammatory adipokines leading to low-grade inflammation are important players in the propensity to obesity in DS. We conclude that DS would be a case of impaired metabolic-inflammatory axis.

Keywords: Down syndrome; Galectin-3; Ghrelin; HSP72; Inflammation; Interleukin-6; Leptin; Obesity; Resistin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Down Syndrome / blood
  • Down Syndrome / complications*
  • Down Syndrome / pathology
  • Inflammation Mediators / blood*
  • Mice
  • Obesity / blood
  • Obesity / etiology*
  • Obesity / pathology
  • Risk Factors


  • Inflammation Mediators