Redox regulation of neuronal migration in a Down Syndrome model.
Down Syndrome (DS), one of the major genetic causes of mental retardation, is characterized by disrupted corticogenesis produced, in part, by an abnormal layering of neurons in cortical laminas II and III. Because defects in the normal migration of neurons during corticogenesis can result in delayed cortical radial expansion and abnormalities in cortical layering, we have examined neuronal migration in murine trisomy 16 (Ts16), a mouse model for DS. Using an in vitro assay for chemotaxis, our data demonstrate that the number of acutely dissociated Ts16 cortical neurons migrating in response to glutamate or N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA), known chemotactic factors, was decreased compared to normal littermates, suggesting a defect in NMDA receptor- (NMDAR-) mediated events. Ts16 neurons did not lack NMDAR since expression of mRNA and protein for NMDAR subunits was observed in Ts16 cells. However, the number of cells that generated an observable current in response to NMDA was decreased compared to normal littermates. Similar to DS, Ts16 CNS demonstrated an inherent oxidative stress likely caused by the triplication of genes such as SOD1. To determine if the abnormal redox state was a factor in the failure of NMDAR-mediated migration in Ts16, we treated Ts16 neurons with either n-acetyl cysteine (NAC) or dithiothrietol (DTT), known antioxidants. The reduction in NMDAR-mediated migration observed in Ts16 neurons was returned to normal littermate values by NAC or DTT. Our data indicate that oxidative stress may play a key role in the abnormal glutamate-mediated responses during cortical development in the Ts16 mouse and may have an impact on neuronal migration at critical stages.
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