Chapter 40 - Animal Models of Alzheimer’s Disease
Animal Models for the Study of Human Disease (Second Edition)
School of Medical and Health Sciences
Alzheimer’s disease is a major and increasing burden on families, communities, and national health budgets. Despite intensive and extended research there is still widespread debate about its cause(s) and no effective treatments exist. Familial (inherited, mainly early onset) and sporadic (mainly late onset) forms of the disease exist and it is uncertain to what extent they are related. Transgenic mouse models have dominated the investigation of this disease but their validity can be questioned. Numerous alternative models exist that can provide valuable information on the molecular and cellular basis of Alzheimer’s disease. In this chapter we review the various invertebrate, nonmammalian vertebrate, and mammalian models and how these have been used to investigate this disease. We examine the strengths and weaknesses of these various model systems. Of course, animal models never completely reflect the true nature of a human disease but progress in understanding and finding preventative and ameliorative treatments for Alzheimer’s disease is hindered by the lack of a convincing hypothesis for the cause of this complex condition.