The medial temporal memory system in Down syndrome: Translating animal models of hippocampal compromise

Caron A.C. Clark, Fabian Fernandez, Stella Sakhon, Goffredina Spanò, Jamie O. Edgin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Recent studies have highlighted the dentate gyrus as a region of increased vulnerability in mouse models of Down syndrome (DS). It is unclear to what extent these findings are reflected in the memory profile of people with the condition. We developed a series of novel tasks to probe distinct medial temporal functions in children and young adults with DS, including object, spatial, and temporal order memory. Relative to mental age-matched controls (n = 45), individuals with DS (n = 28) were unimpaired on subtests involving short-term object or configural recall that was divorced from spatial or temporal contexts. By contrast, the DS group had difficulty recalling spatial locations when contextual information was salient and recalling the order in which objects were serially presented. Results are consistent with dysfunction of spatial and temporal contextual pattern separation abilities in individuals with DS, mediated by the hippocampus, including the dentate gyrus. Amidst increasing calls to bridge human and animal work, the memory profile demonstrated here in humans with DS is strikingly similar to that of the Ts65Dn mouse model of DS. The study highlights the trisynaptic circuit as a potentially fruitful intervention target to mitigate cognitive impairments associated with DS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)683-691
Number of pages9
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2017


  • Down syndrome
  • hippocampus
  • object recognition
  • spatial memory
  • trisynaptic circuit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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