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J Intellect Disabil Res. 2018 May;62(5):382-390. doi: 10.1111/jir.12470. Epub 2018 Jan 19.

Inflammatory biomarkers and intellectual disability in patients with Down syndrome.

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Department of Human Pathology of Adult and Developmental Age 'Gaetano Barresi', University Hospital of Messina, Italy.
Department of Human Pathology of the Adult and Developmental Age 'Gaetano Barresi', Unit of Child Neurology and Psychiatry, University of Messina, Messina, Italy.
Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University Hospital of Messina, Messina, Italy.
Department of Molecular Neurosciences, University College of London, London, UK.



Intellectual disability (ID) is part of the Down syndrome (DS) phenotypic spectrum, but the exact molecular pathophysiology of ID in individuals with DS is not yet fully understood, with many research hypotheses still unproven. Basing on previous studies (which suggested a possible role of altered inflammatory response in DS-related ID), we assessed the serum levels of a number of inflammatory biomarkers [serum amyloid A (SAA), C-reactive protein (C-RP), high mobility group box-1 (HMGB1)] in a cohort of individuals with DS and healthy controls.


In total, 24 children diagnosed with DS and 12 healthy controls were enrolled, and all underwent detailed cognitive assessment. Also, serum SAA, C-RP and HMGB1 levels were measured in all recruited subjects and correlated to the severity of ID in the DS group.


Serum SAA, C-RP and HMGB1 values were found to be significantly higher in the DS group compared with the healthy subjects (P = 0.001). In addition, serum HMGB1 levels positively correlated with C-RP and SAA in the DS group but not in the healthy controls. Only serum C-RP levels resulted inversely correlated (P < 0.01) with intelligence quotient (IQ); conversely, significant statistical correlations between serum SAA levels and IQ (as well as between HMGB1 and IQ) have been not found (P > 0.05).


The levels of the determined markers were higher in DS individuals compared with (cognitively) healthy subjects, and CRP showed a negative correlation with IQ in children with DS.


C-reactive protein; Down syndrome; children; high mobility group box-1; intellectual quotient; serum amyloid A


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