Animal Models and Translational Medicine

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

Patients with Alzheimer's disease have both amyloidopathy and tauopathy; however, scientists often focus on one or the other in an animal model in a reductionist manner. One participant added that although the mouse anatomy is different from human, mutant tau mice are relatively good models in that they recapitulate tau-dependent neurodegeneration. This has led many companies to concentrate on antibodies which block deaf neurodegeneration in these mouse models.

This session covers transgenic models, pharmacological and lesion models, natural and semi-natural models, primary models, zebra fish models, animal models of cognitive aging, development of new animal models, translational model genetics, protein-protein interactions, ethical issues with animal models.