Prenatal epigenetic age acceleration in Down syndrome

That’s a result of Xu et al 2022, “Accelerated epigenetic aging in newborns with Down syndrome”.

This study furthers our understanding of a syndrome of accelerated aging. The authors show a significant acceleration of an epigenetic aging marker in the blood of people with Down syndrome. Furthermore, they show that this effect is present at birth and is significantly stronger in newborns who have Down syndrome plus GATA1 mutations. This association with GATA1 mutations is intriguing as GATA1 mutations are associated with transient abnormal myelopoiesis. One thing that this study does not do is investigate the mechanism by which this age acceleration occurs.

One hypothesis based on this finding is that it might help explain why people with Down syndrome have an increased susceptibility to Alzheimer’s disease. Lore has long been that this is due to the triplication of amyloid precursor protein, however, this study suggests that age acceleration may also play at least a part in the increased susceptibility of people with Down syndrome to aging-associated cognitive impairment and Alzheimer-type neuropathology.