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Reaction to the announcement that an antiretroviral drug improves cognitive ability in a mouse model of Down's syndrome

Lamivudine, a commonly used antiretroviral drug for the treatment of HIV, improves cognitive ability in a mouse model of Down's syndrome, according to a new study published today in the Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine.

28/06/2022 - 14:38 CEST
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Casto Rivadulla - fármaco mejora cognición ratones modelo Down - EN

Casto Rivadulla

Professor of Physiology and researcher at the Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (CICA) of the University of A Coruña and the Institute for Biomedical Research of A Coruña.


Science Media Centre Spain

Transposons are portions of the genome capable of replicating and inserting themselves into areas other than their original location. This process must be very precisely regulated, as insertion in undesired locations can have very serious consequences. These control and regulation mechanisms can be altered under various conditions. Thus, the presence of transposons has been linked to neurodegenerative processes associated with ageing and also with alterations in development. The work published by María Martínez de Lagrán and collaborators uses a reverse transcriptase inhibitor capable of reducing the presence of transposons with the aim of treating the cognitive effects of Down's syndrome.

This is a trial in an animal model, which evaluates only one aspect of cognitive processing and which, although far from being a definitive treatment for people with Down's syndrome, does offer hopeful results for several reasons. It shows the possibility of reversing very complex cognitive alterations, such as object recognition memory, when animals are treated with the reverse transcriptase inhibitor. It also shows a new possible therapeutic target, not only for Down's syndrome, but also for other neurodegenerative pathologies that need to be explored, thus opening up new lines of work.

Finally, it is important to note that these results are obtained using a drug, lamivudine, which is already approved for the treatment of HIV, which would accelerate the implementation of clinical trials in patients since the safety studies, contraindications, etc., have already been carried out.


The author has not responded to our request to declare conflicts of interest
Lamivudine, a reverse transcriptase inhibitor, rescues cognitive deficits in a mouse model of down syndrome
  • Research article
  • Peer reviewed
  • Experimental study
  • Animals
Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Publication date

de Lagran M, Elizalde-Torrent A, Paredes R, Clotet B, Dierssen M.

Study types:
  • Research article
  • Peer reviewed
  • Experimental study
  • Animals
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