Lithium restores neurogenesis in the subventricular zone of the Ts65Dn mouse, a model for Down syndrome.

Dipartimento di Fisiologia Umana e Generale, Università di Bologna, Bologna, Italy.
Brain Pathology (Impact Factor: 4.35). 04/2009; 20(1):106-18. DOI: 10.1111/j.1750-3639.2008.00246.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Down syndrome (DS), a high-incidence genetic pathology, involves brain hypoplasia and mental retardation. Emerging evidence suggests that reduced neurogenesis may be a major determinant of brain underdevelopment in DS. To establish whether it is possible to improve neurogenesis in DS, Ts65Dn mice--the most widely used model for DS--and euploid mice were treated with control or lithium chow for 1 month. During the last 3 days animals received one daily injection of 5-bromo-2-deoxyuridine (BrdU)--a marker of proliferating cells--and were sacrificed 24 h after the last injection. Neurogenesis was examined in the subventricular zone (SVZ), a region that retains a neurogenic potential across life. We found that Ts65Dn mice had less (-40%) BrdU+ cells than euploid mice, indicating severe proliferation impairment. Treatment with lithium increased the number of Brdu+ cells in both euploid and Ts65Dn mice. In the latter the number of Brdu+ cells became similar to that of untreated euploid mice. Our study shows that lithium is able to restore cell proliferation in the SVZ of the Ts65Dn mouse and point at treatments with mood stabilizers as a potential tool to improve neurogenesis in patients with DS.

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