Mouse models of Alzheimer's disease: A quest for plaques and tangles

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42 Scopus citations


Many genetically altered mice have been designed to help understand the role of specific gene mutations in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) based on the realization that specific mutations in the genes for amyloid precursor protein - the presenilins and tau - are associated with early-onset familial AD or, in the case of tau mutations, other neurodegenerative diseases with neurofibrillary tangles. However, attempts to reproduce the neuropathology of AD in the mouse have been frustrating. Transgenic designs emphasizing amyloid precursor protein produced mice that develop amyloid plaques, but neurodegeneration and neurofibrillary tangles failed to form. Strategies emphasizing tau resulted in increased phosphorylation of tau and tangle formation, although amyloid plaques were absent. Nevertheless, crossing transgenic animals expressing mutated tau and amyloid precursor protein has produced a mouse that closely recapitulates the neuropathology of AD. A review of the various murine models, their role in understanding the pathogenesis of AD and their use in testing therapeutic regimens, is provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-99
Number of pages11
JournalILAR Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Amyloid plaque
  • Fibrillary tangle
  • Neuro
  • Tau
  • Transgenic mice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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