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Transgenic Models of Neurodegenerative Disease

Transgenic Models of Neurodegenerative Disease

The increasing incidence of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Parkinson's disease (PD) have become one of the most challenging health problems for aging humans. Using genetically modified animal models of neurodegenerative diseases to study pathogenesis, prognosis, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention is one of the main methods in current biomedical.

Neurodegenerative Transgenic Animal Models in Mice

Neurodegenerative diseases, including motor neuron disease (MND), AD, PD, prion disease, Huntington's disease (HD) and cerebellar ataxia. It is autosomal dominant and age-related, including specific gene mutations disease. Due to the development of in vitro systems and advances in transgenic technology, researchers have created transgenic animal models of these diseases. At present, genetically modified models of neurodegenerative diseases are the most common in mice.

Table 1. Transgenic mouse models for neurodegenerative diseases.

Disease types Clinical features Gene Transgenic Models Results
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Pathological paralysis,
muscle atrophy,
spasm, neuron disease.
SOD1 SOD1 transgenic mice The transgenic mice showed progressive weakness and muscle atrophy. The electromyogram showed that it was consistent with MND, the level and activity of SOD1 protein increased, and the structure of a variety of motor neurons was abnormal.
Alzheimer's disease (AD) Senile plaques,
neurofibrillary tangles,
hippocampal and cortical neurodegeneration.
APP,
PSEN1
APP transgenic mice Diffuse and dense deposits can be seen in the hippocampus, corpus callosum, and cerebral cortex. These deposits are related to twisted neurites, astrocytes and microglia.
Prion diseases Ataxia and/or dementia, spongy,
degeneration, glial cell proliferation.
PrP Mo/HuPrP-P102L transgenic mice Transgenic mice showed moderate spongiform degeneration and severe gliosis.
Trinucleotide repeat diseases Autosomal dominant disease,
degeneration of specific neuron population.
X25 SCA-I transgenic mice Several lines of mice with transgenes encoding expanded repeats develop ataxia and degeneration of Purkinje cells.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) Progressive loss of dopamine (DA) neurons in the substantia nigrpars compacta (SN) and the presence of misfolded α-synuclein in Lewy bodies and neurites throughout the nervous system. Parkin (PARK2) α-synuclein transgenic mice The transgenic model showed strong non-dopaminergic defects and motor dysfunction.
Huntington's disease (HD) Protein misfolding and aggregation and age-dependent neurodegeneration. Htt R6/2 transgenic mice The gene-deficient mice showed severe motor deficits and early death.

The transgenic mouse model is the most used mammalian genetic model because of its high efficiency, economy, and ease of operation. Although the phenotype and neuronal pathology of various transgenic mouse models in neurodegenerative diseases have been extensively studied, none of them exhibits as strong neurodegeneration as the human brain.

Fig.1 A mouse model that expresses mHtt in different types of neurons or glial cells. Fig.1 A mouse model that expresses mHtt in different types of neurons or glial cells. (Chang, 2015)

Neurodegenerative Transgenic Animal Models in Other Primates

Large-scale transgenic animal models have been established in non-human primates, such as rhesus monkeys, pigs, sheep, and chickens. Due to the genetic, anatomical, physiology, pathological and neurological similarities between large mammals and humans, large-scale transgenic animal models are highly attractive in neurodegenerative diseases and can bridge the gap between rodents and humans in preclinical research.

No matter how perfect an animal model is, it cannot completely replicate the phenotype of human neurodegenerative diseases. Significant progress has been made in using transgenic methods to simulate human neurodegenerative diseases in animals and transform them into human targeted therapy. These transgenic models provide basic biological knowledge and disease phenotypes related to human conditions and provide important information in elucidating the pathogenic mechanism of diseases and developing treatment strategies.

Creative Biolabs has advanced technology and mature methods in the research of neuroscience problems. We have a full line of off-the-shelf and customized products for different neurosecretion research. Please feel free to contact us if you are interested or have any questions.

References

  1. Dawson, T.M.; et al. Animal models of neurodegenerative diseases. Nature neuroscience. 2018, 21(10): 1370-1379.
  2. Chang, R.; et al. Transgenic animal models for study of the pathogenesis of Huntington’s disease and therapy. Drug design, development and therapy. 2015, 9: 2179.
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