Background: The Caribbean vervet monkey (Chlorocebus aethiops sabaeus) is a potentially valuable animal model of neurodegenerative disease. However, the trajectory of aging in vervets and its relationship to human disease is incompletely understood.
Methods: To characterize biomarkers associated with neurodegeneration, we measured cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) concentrations of Aβ1-40, Aβ1-42, total tau, and p-tau181 in 329 members of a multigenerational pedigree. Linkage and genome-wide association were used to elucidate a genetic contribution to these traits.
Results: Aβ1-40 concentrations were significantly correlated with age, brain total surface area, and gray matter thickness. Levels of p-tau181 were associated with cerebral volume and brain total surface area. Among the measured analytes, only CSF Aβ1-40 was heritable. No significant linkage (LOD > 3.3) was found, though suggestive linkage was highlighted on chromosomes 4 and 12. Genome-wide association identified a suggestive locus near the chromosome 4 linkage peak.
Conclusions: Overall, these results support the vervet as a non-human primate model of amyloid-related neurodegeneration, such as Alzheimer's disease and cerebral amyloid angiopathy, and highlight Aβ1-40 and p-tau181 as potentially valuable biomarkers of these processes.
Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; amyloid beta; cerebral amyloid angiopathy; cerebrospinal fluid; tau; vervet.