An international team of researchers has developed a therapy based on the GnRH protein that has improved the cognitive functions of a small group of patients with Down’s Syndromea genetic alteration that affects one in 800 people.
Researchers have discovered that gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), an essential protein in reproductive function, also plays an essential role in cognitive function.
Based on this finding, the Lille researchers (whose first author is María Manfredi-Lozano, currently at the University of Seville) carried out a proof of concept in mice to restore the GnRH system and try to make it work correctly.
After six months of treatment, the researchers evaluated the effects of the therapy and, using cognitive and olfactory tests and MRI examinations, found that the treatment had not improved olfactory function but cognitive function. An “unexpected find” that paves the way for further investigation.
Down syndrome is the leading cause of intellectual disability and causes various clinical manifestations, including impaired cognitive ability. With age, 77% of sufferers experience symptoms similar to those of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s.
In addition, people with this syndrome suffer from the gradual loss of olfactory ability -typical of neurodegenerative diseases- and possible deficits in sexual maturation in the case of males.
The study, whose results are published today in Science, has been led by the University of Lille (France) and the University Hospital of Lausanne (Switzerland), and has had the participation of the University of Córdoba (UCO) and the Institute of August Pi i Sunyer Biomedical Research (Idibaps).