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Am J Neurodegener Dis 2013;2(2):108-120

Review Article
Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers in animal models: closing the
translational gap

Jonathan J Sabbagh, Jefferson W Kinney, Jeffrey L Cummings

Behavioral Neuroscience Laboratory, University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain
Health, Las Vegas, Nevada

Received May 14, 2013; Accepted May 31, 2013; Epub June 21, 2013; Published July 1, 2013

Abstract: The rising prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is rapidly becoming one of the largest health and
economic challenges in the world. There is a growing need for the development and implementation of reliable
biomarkers for AD that can be used to assist in diagnosis, inform disease progression, and monitor therapeutic
efficacy. Preclinical models permit the evaluation of candidate biomarkers and assessment of pipeline agents before
clinical trials are initiated and provide a translational opportunity to advance biomarker discovery. Fast and inexpensive
data can be obtained from examination of peripheral markers, though they currently lack the sensitivity and consistency
of imaging techniques such as MRI or PET. Plasma and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers in animal models can
assist in development and implementation of similar approaches in clinical populations. These biomarkers may also
be invaluable in decisions to advance a treatment to human testing. Longitudinal studies in AD models can determine
initial presentation and progression of biomarkers that may also be used to evaluate disease-modifying efficacy of
drugs. The refinement of biomarker approaches in preclinical systems will not only aid in drug development, but may
facilitate diagnosis and disease monitoring in AD patients. (AJND1305005).

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease, biomarkers, animal models, drug development

Address correspondence to: Jefferson W Kinney, Behavioral Neuroscience Laboratory, University of Nevada, Las
Vegas. E-mail: Jefferson.kinney@unlv.edu