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Early-Stage Alzheimer’s Disease Model Developed in Rhesus Macaques

Scientists at the California National Primate Research Center (CNPRC) at the University of California, Davis, say they have developed a model of the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease in rhesus macaques. The macaque model, described in a paper (“A novel tau‐based rhesus monkey model of Alzheimer’s pathogenesis”) published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, could allow better testing of new treatments, according to the researchers.

“Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a devastating condition with no effective treatments, with promising findings in rodents failing to translate into successful therapies for patients. Targeting the vulnerable entorhinal cortex (ERC), rhesus monkeys received two injections of an adeno‐associated virus expressing a double tau mutation (AAV‐P301L/S320F) in the left hemisphere, and control AAV‐green fluorescent protein in the right ERC. Noninjected aged‐matched monkeys served as additional controls,” wrote the investigators.

“Within three months we observed evidence of misfolded tau propagation, similar to what is hypothesized to occur in humans. Viral delivery of human 4R‐tau also coaptates monkey 3R‐tau via permissive templating. Tau spreading is accompanied by robust neuroinflammatory response driven by TREM2+ microglia, with biomarkers of inflammation and neuronal loss in the cerebrospinal fluid and plasma.

“These results highlight the initial stages of tau seeding and propagation in a primate model, a more powerful translational approach for the development of new therapies for AD.”

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