Naturally occurring Alzheimer's disease in rhesus monkeys
AbstractAlzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common neurodegenerative disease. To date, its cause is unclear and there are no effective treatments or preventive measures. Despite there are accumulating evidences for the existence of AD pathological hallmarks in the brain of aging rhesus monkeys, it remains a mainstream notion that monkeys do not develop AD naturally. This is an important issue because it will determine how we use monkeys in AD studies. To settle down this issue, a group (n=10)
... f aged rhesus monkeys 26 years old or above went through a systematic AD screening procedure in this study. Three of these monkeys showed severe memory impairments (SMI) after evaluated with a classic working memory test. Further behavioral testing revealed that the SMI monkeys also exhibited apathy-like behavior, which is another core AD clinical symptom. In addition to the cognitive deficits, two of the three SMI monkeys developed all of the three AD pathological hallmarks, including neurofibrillary tangles, senile plaques and neuronal loss. According to the diagnostic criteria of human AD, the two SMI monkeys were clearly naturally occurring AD monkeys. These results suggest that AD is not a uniquely human disease and monkeys have great potential for the development of much needed etiological AD models, which are vital for better understanding of developmental process of AD and the base of identification of early diagnostic biomarkers and effective therapeutic targets of AD.