Animal models in the drug discovery pipeline for Alzheimer's disease
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences . Biomedical Sciences
British journal of pharmacology. - London
, p. 1285-1300
University of Antwerp
With increasing feasibility of predicting conversion of mild cognitive impairment to dementia based on biomarker profiling, the urgent need for efficacious disease-modifying compounds has become even more critical. Despite intensive research, underlying pathophysiological mechanisms remain insufficiently documented for purposeful target discovery. Translational research based on valid animal models may aid in alleviating some of the unmet needs in the current Alzheimer's disease pharmaceutical market, which includes disease-modification, increased efficacy and safety, reduction of the number of treatment unresponsive patients and patient compliance. The development and phenotyping of animal models is indeed essential in Alzheimer's disease-related research as valid models enable the appraisal of early pathological processes which are often not accessible in patients, and subsequent target discovery and evaluation. This review paper summarizes and critically evaluates currently available animal models, and discusses their value to the Alzheimer drug discovery pipeline. Models dealt with include spontaneous models in various species, including senescence-accelerated mice, chemical and lesion-induced rodent models, and genetically modified models developed in Drosophila melanogaster, Caenorhabditis elegans, Danio rerio and rodents. Although highly valid animal models exist, none of the currently available models recapitulates all aspects of human Alzheimer's disease, and one should always be aware of the potential dangers of uncritical extrapolating from model organisms to a human condition that takes decades to develop and mainly involves higher cognitive functions.