Animal models of Alzheimer's disease and frontotemporal dementia

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2008 Jul;9(7):532-44. doi: 10.1038/nrn2420.


Insoluble protein aggregates have been linked to Alzheimer's disease (AD) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Recent work in transgenic mice has shed light on the role of these aggregates by identifying soluble oligomeric species that may interfere with essential cellular mechanisms at an early disease stage. This review summarizes what we have learned about the roles of these proteins from transgenic mice and invertebrate species such as flies and worms. Proteomic and transcriptomic analyses of tissue from these animal models have identified new molecules with crucial roles in disease. Moreover, transgenic animals have been instrumental in defining drug targets and designing novel therapeutic strategies. With advanced imaging techniques that can be used in both humans and mice an early, preclinical diagnosis of AD and FTD could be within reach.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Alzheimer Disease / physiopathology*
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Amyloid Precursor Protein Secretases / genetics
  • Amyloid Precursor Protein Secretases / metabolism
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor / genetics
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Apolipoprotein E4 / genetics
  • Apolipoprotein E4 / metabolism
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Dementia / diagnosis
  • Dementia / pathology
  • Dementia / physiopathology*
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Sequence Alignment
  • tau Proteins / genetics
  • tau Proteins / metabolism


  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor
  • Apolipoprotein E4
  • tau Proteins
  • Amyloid Precursor Protein Secretases