Animal Models and Translational Medicine


Animal models for Alzheimer’s disease it is important to think about the human phenotype and what is being modeled in terms of the animal phenotype. The moderator, Bradley Hyman, professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, said that animal models of Alzheimer’s disease, based on the genetics of the disease and the closely related frontotemporal dementia, replicate at least some of the pathology. Researchers have been successful at modeling very specific aspects of Alzheimer’s disease in the mouse (e.g., plaques, tangles). Although these are incomplete models of the human disease, they have been well received in the field as potentially relevant models for use in drug discovery.



Patients with Alzheimer’s disease will display both amyloidopathy and tauopathy; however, scientists often focus, in a reductionist way, on one or the other in an animal model. A participant added that even though the anatomy in the mouse is different than the human, mutant tau mice are relatively good models in that they recapitulate tau-dependent neurodegeneration. This has led a number of companies to focus on antibodies that block tau-dependent neurodegeneration in these mouse models.



 


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