CRG: Rhythm of oscillations in cerebral cortex, key to understanding Down syndrome

CRG: Rhythm of oscillations in cerebral cortex, key to understanding Down syndrome

News from CRG

In an article published in the current issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, scientists from the Centre for Genomic Regulation, led by Dr. Mara Dierssen, and the laboratory of Dr. Mavi Sánchez Vives, at the Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBAPS), describe altered oscillations and synchronization in the cerebral cortex for a Down syndrome candidate gene in a mouse model. Such alterations have been linked to problems with functions as relevant as decision-making, impulsiveness, working memory or attention.

“Changes in the cellular architecture of neurons in the cerebral cortex, in Down syndrome animal models had already been detected in the past. We observed that the neurons had a different structure. Now we have taken another step, studying the physiology, or the function of this cerebral cortex, and found that those cellular alterations and slight changes in inhibitory connectivity translate into a deficit of activation of this region and of its neuronal activity rhythm and synchronization,” states Dr. Mara Dierssen, head of the Cellular and Systems Neurobiology group and Co-Principal Investigator of this study. “One of the main problems with mental impairment is that we don't understand how the alterations that we detect at the cellular level trigger changes in the cerebral circuits and alterations in cognitive function. The study that we've published explains some of these cellular alterations and offers for the first time an in vivo study of the physiology of the cerebral cortex, a key structure in executive functions such as concentration, learning or problem-solving." she adds.

More information:
CRG Website and CEXS-UPF Website

Reference study:
Ruiz-Mejias, Martinez de Lagrán et al. “Overexpression of Dyrk1A, a Down syndrome candidate, decreases excitability and impairs gamma oscillations in the prefrontal cortex” The Journal of Neuroscience. 30 March 2016. DOI: