Trisomy 21 causes changes in the circulating proteome indicative of chronic autoinflammation

Sci Rep. 2017 Nov 1;7(1):14818. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-13858-3.


Trisomy 21 (T21) causes Down syndrome (DS), but the mechanisms by which T21 produces the different disease spectrum observed in people with DS are unknown. We recently identified an activated interferon response associated with T21 in human cells of different origins, consistent with overexpression of the four interferon receptors encoded on chromosome 21, and proposed that DS could be understood partially as an interferonopathy. However, the impact of T21 on systemic signaling cascades in living individuals with DS is undefined. To address this knowledge gap, we employed proteomics approaches to analyze blood samples from 263 individuals, 165 of them with DS, leading to the identification of dozens of proteins that are consistently deregulated by T21. Most prominent among these proteins are numerous factors involved in immune control, the complement cascade, and growth factor signaling. Importantly, people with DS display higher levels of many pro-inflammatory cytokines (e.g. IL-6, MCP-1, IL-22, TNF-α) and pronounced complement consumption, resembling changes seen in type I interferonopathies and other autoinflammatory conditions. Therefore, these results are consistent with the hypothesis that increased interferon signaling caused by T21 leads to chronic immune dysregulation, and justify investigations to define the therapeutic value of immune-modulatory strategies in DS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chronic Disease
  • Complement System Proteins / analysis
  • Cytokines / blood
  • Down Syndrome / blood*
  • Down Syndrome / complications
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Inflammation / blood*
  • Inflammation / complications
  • Male
  • Proteome / analysis*
  • Receptors, Growth Factor / blood
  • Trisomy
  • Young Adult


  • Cytokines
  • Proteome
  • Receptors, Growth Factor
  • Complement System Proteins