Down Syndrome (DS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is characterized by an accelerated aging process, frequently associated with the development of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Previous studies evidenced that DS patients have various metabolic anomalies, easily measurable in their serum samples, although values that were found in DS patients were compared with those of age-matched non-DS patients, thus hampering to discriminate the physiologic age-related changes of serum metabolites from those that are truly caused by the pathologic processes associated with DS. In the present study we performed a targeted metabolomic evaluation of serum samples from DS patients without dementia of two age classes (Younger DS Patients, YDSP, aging 20-40 years; Aged DS Patients, ADSP, aging 41-60 years), comparing the results with those that were obtained in two age classes of non-DS patients (Younger non-DS Patients, YnonDSP, aging 30-60 years; Aged-nonDS Patients, AnonDSP, aging 75-90 years). Of the 36 compounds assayed, 30 had significantly different concentrations in Pooled non-DS Patients (PnonDSP), compared to Pooled DS Patients (PDSP). Age categorization revealed that 11/30 compounds were significantly different in AnonDSP, compared to YnonDSP, indicating physiologic, age-related changes of their circulating concentrations. A comparison between YDSP and ADSP showed that 19/30 metabolites had significantly different values from those found in the corresponding classes of non-DS patients, strongly suggesting pathologic, DS-associated alterations of their serum levels. Twelve compounds selectively and specifically discriminated PnonDSP from PDSP, whilst only three discriminated YDSP from ADSP. The results allowed to determine, for the first time and to the best of our knowledge, the true, age-independent alterations of metabolism that are measurable in serum and attributable only to DS. These findings may be of high relevance for better strategies (pharmacological, nutritional) aiming to specifically target the dysmetabolism and decreased antioxidant defenses that are associated with DS.
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