Pharmacological interventions to improve cognition and adaptive functioning in Down syndrome: Strides to date.
Down syndrome (DS) is associated with neurological complications, including cognitive deficits that lead to impairment in intellectual functioning. Increased GABA-mediated inhibition has been proposed as a mechanism underlying deficient cognition in the Ts65Dn (TS) mouse model of DS. We show that chronic treatment of these mice with RO4938581 (3-bromo-10-(difluoromethyl)-9H-benzo[f]imidazo[1,5-a][1,2,4]triazolo[1,5-d][1,4]diazepine), a selective GABA(A) α5 negative allosteric modulator (NAM), rescued their deficits in spatial learning and memory, hippocampal synaptic plasticity, and adult neurogenesis. We also show that RO4938581 normalized the high density of GABAergic synapse markers in the molecular layer of the hippocampus of TS mice. In addition, RO4938581 treatment suppressed the hyperactivity observed in TS mice without inducing anxiety or altering their motor abilities. These data demonstrate that reducing GABAergic inhibition with RO4938581 can reverse functional and neuromorphological deficits of TS mice by facilitating brain plasticity and support the potential therapeutic use of selective GABA(A) α5 NAMs to treat cognitive dysfunction in DS.