Unaltered expression of Fas (CD95/APO-1), Caspase-3, Bcl-2 and Annexins in brains of fetal Down syndrome: evidence against increased apoptosis

  • E. Engidawork
  • N. Balic
  • J.-F. Juranville
  • M. Fountoulakis
  • M. Dierssen
  • G. Lubec


Apoptosis is the mechanism by which cells are programmed to die under a wide range of physiological and developmental stimuli. Accumulating evidence indicates that enhanced apoptosis (programmed cell death) in Down syndrome (DS) may play a role in mental retardation and precocious neurodegeneration of the Alzheimer-type. In this regard, alteration of several apoptosis related proteins have been reported in adult DS brain. Fetal DS neurons exhibited increased reactive oxygen species leading to early apoptosis, however, expression of apoptosis related proteins in fetal DS, has never been considered. To address this issue, we investigated the expression of proteins involved in apoptosis including Fas (CD95, APO-1), caspase-3, Bcl-2 and annexins in the cerebral cortex of control and DS fetal brain by western blot and two dimensional electrophoresis. Here, we report that no detectable changes were obtained in fetal DS brain in the expression of Fas, caspase-3, Bcl-2 and Annexins (I, II, V, and VI) compared to controls. In parallel experiment, we also examined the expression of neuron specific enolase (NSE), a neuronal marker found to be decreased in adult DS brain, to see if there is any neuronal loss and no difference was observed between the two groups. Protein expression did not correlate with age. The unchanged levels of Fas, Bcl-2 and annexins together with unaltered caspase-3 expression, a predominant caspase that executes apoptosis in the developing nervous system, suggest that enhanced apoptosis may not be apparent in fetal DS brain as demonstrated for adult DS brain.


Down Syndrome Annexin Versus Fetal Brain Neuron Specific Enolase Antiapoptotic Protein 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag/Wien 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Engidawork
    • 1
  • N. Balic
    • 2
  • J.-F. Juranville
    • 3
  • M. Fountoulakis
    • 3
  • M. Dierssen
    • 4
  • G. Lubec
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria
  2. 2.Institute of Medical and Chemical Laboratory Diagnostics, AKHUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria
  3. 3.F. Hoffmann-La RocheBaselSwitzerland
  4. 4.Medical and Molecular Genetics CenterIRO Hospital Duran i ReynalsBarcelonaSpain

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