Dendritic atrophy in children with Down's syndrome

Ann Neurol. 1986 Oct;20(4):520-6. doi: 10.1002/ana.410200413.


Dendritic branching was evaluated in the visual cortex of 8 children with Down's syndrome and 10 controls, ranging in age from 4 months to 7 years and divided into infantile, late-infantile, and juvenile groups. Camera lucida drawings of Golgi-impregnated neurons were used for examining the following dendritic aspects: dendritic intersections as a function of distance from the cell body, point of maximum dendritic branching, number of branch orders, total number of branch segments, and total dendritic length. The number of intersections and the total dendritic length were above normal in the infantile period (6 months old or less) and dropped steadily to significantly below normal in the juvenile group (older than 2 years). These reductions contrasted with expanding dendritic arborization in normal children. The results suggest that the dendritic tree atrophies in early childhood in Down's syndrome.

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Dendrites / pathology*
  • Down Syndrome / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Visual Cortex / pathology*