BBA - Molecular Basis of Disease (v.1802, #10)

Mouse models of neurological disorders by David Howlett (783-784).

Human neurological disorders include a wide range of illnesses which have a disproportionately high prevalence in the increasingly populous geriatric community. Any research effort directed at discovering the aetiology of neurological disease is greatly enhanced with in vivo models of the disease of interest. Scientific research incorporating the use of mice has advanced rapidly in the last three decades. Relatively simple to breed, maintain and train, mice have many advantages over other species for use in research. More than a century of selective breeding has provided investigators with a rich gene pool and sub-strain diversity from which to choose for their research. Thus the dramatic increase in genetic screening and gene engineering that has occurred in research in recent decades has enabled the generation of a multitude of mouse models. This review discusses the relative utility of mouse models in which a heritable or non-heritable (acquired) manipulation has been used to model a specified trait of a human neurological disorder. The techniques used in deriving useful genetic alterations or modifications and in generating acquired mouse models are outlined with examples of each provided.
Keywords: Mouse model; Neurology; Disease; Inherited trait; Acquired trai;

Transgenic mouse models have vastly contributed to our knowledge of the genetic and molecular pathways underlying the pathogenesis of neurological disorders that affect millions of people worldwide. Not only have they allowed the generation of disease models mimicking the human pathological state but they have also permitted the exploration of the pathological role of specific genes through the generation of knock-out and knock-in models. Classical constitutive transgenic mice have several limitations however, due to behavioral adaptation process occurring and conditional mouse models are time-consuming and often lack extensive spatial or temporal control of gene manipulation. These limitations could be overcome by means of innovative methods that are now available such as RNAi, viral vectors and large cloning DNA vectors. These tools have been extensively used for the generation of mouse models and are characterized by the superior control of transgene expression that has been proven invaluable in the assessment of novel treatments for neurological diseases and to further investigate the molecular processes underlying the etiopathology of neurological disorders. Furthermore, in association with classical transgenic mouse models, they have allowed the validation of innovative therapeutic strategies for the treatment of human neurological disorders. This review describes how these tools have overcome the limitations of classical transgenic mouse models and how they have been of value for the study of human neurological diseases.
Keywords: RNA Interference; Viral vector; Mouse model; Neurological disease;

Alzheimer's disease: Old problem, new views from transgenic and viral models by Tomasz Jaworski; Ilse Dewachter; Claire Marie Seymour; Peter Borghgraef; Herman Devijver; Sebastian Kügler; Fred Van Leuven (808-818).
Alzheimer's dementia is developing ever more as a complex syndrome with various unknown genetic and epigenetic contributions. These are compounded on and exacerbating the underlying amyloid and tau pathology that remain the basis of the pathological definition of Alzheimer's disease. Here, we present a selection of aspects of recent bigenic and virus-based mouse strains, developed as pre-clinical models for Alzheimer's disease. We discuss newer features in the context of the characteristics defined in previously validated transgenic models. We focus on specific aspects of single and multiple transgenic mouse models for Alzheimer's disease and for tauopathies, rather than providing an exhaustive list of all available models. We concentrate on the content of information related to neurodegeneration and disease mechanisms. We pay attention to aspects and defects that are predicted by the models and can be tested in humans. We discuss implications that help translate the fundamental knowledge into clinical, diagnostic and therapeutic applications. We elaborate on the increasing knowledge extracted from transgenic models and from newer adeno-associated viral models. We advocate this combination as a valuable strategy to study molecular, cellular and system-related pathogenic mechanisms in AD and tauopathies. We believe that innovative animal models remain needed to critically test current views, to identify and validate therapeutic targets, to allow testing of compounds, to help understand and eventually treat tauopathies, including Alzheimer's disease.
Keywords: Alzheimer; Transgenic; Adeno-associated virus; Neurodegeneration; Tauopathy; Neurofibrillary tangles;

Mouse models in neurological disorders: Applications of non-invasive imaging by Yannic Waerzeggers; Parisa Monfared; Thomas Viel; Alexandra Winkeler; Andreas H. Jacobs (819-839).
Neuroimaging techniques represent powerful tools to assess disease-specific cellular, biochemical and molecular processes non-invasively in vivo. Besides providing precise anatomical localisation and quantification, the most exciting advantage of non-invasive imaging techniques is the opportunity to investigate the spatial and temporal dynamics of disease-specific functional and molecular events longitudinally in intact living organisms, so called molecular imaging (MI). Combining neuroimaging technologies with in vivo models of neurological disorders provides unique opportunities to understand the aetiology and pathophysiology of human neurological disorders. In this way, neuroimaging in mouse models of neurological disorders not only can be used for phenotyping specific diseases and monitoring disease progression but also plays an essential role in the development and evaluation of disease-specific treatment approaches. In this way MI is a key technology in translational research, helping to design improved disease models as well as experimental treatment protocols that may afterwards be implemented into clinical routine. The most widely used imaging modalities in animal models to assess in vivo anatomical, functional and molecular events are positron emission tomography (PET), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and optical imaging (OI). Here, we review the application of neuroimaging in mouse models of neurodegeneration (Parkinson's disease, PD, and Alzheimer's disease, AD) and brain cancer (glioma).
Keywords: Neuroimaging; Mouse models; Neurodegeneration; Parkinson's disease; Alzheimer's disease; Neurooncology; Glioma;

Manipulation of diet such as increasing the level of fat or inducing insulin resistance has been shown to exacerbate the pathology in several animal models of neurological disease. Caloric restriction, however, has been demonstrated to extend the life span of many organisms. Reduced calorie consumption appears to increase the resistance of neurons to intracellular and extracellular stress and consequently improves the behavioural phenotype in animal models of neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease. We review the evidence from a variety of mouse models that diet is a risk factor that can significantly contribute to the development of neurological diseases.
Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Diabetes; Insulin resistance; Calorie restriction; Neurodegeneration; Ageing;

Murine models of Alzheimer's disease and their use in developing immunotherapies by Thomas Wisniewski; Einar M. Sigurdsson (847-859).
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is one of the categories of neurodegenerative diseases characterized by a conformational change of a normal protein into a pathological conformer with a high β-sheet content that renders it resistant to degradation and neurotoxic. In AD, the normal soluble amyloid β (sAβ) peptide is converted into oligomeric/fibrillar Aβ. The oligomeric forms of Aβ are thought to be the most toxic, while fibrillar Aβ becomes deposited as amyloid plaques and congophilic angiopathy, which both serve as neuropathological markers of the disease. An additional important feature of AD is the accumulation of abnormally phosphorylated tau as soluble toxic oligomers and as neurofibrillary tangles. Many therapeutic interventions are under investigation to prevent and treat AD. The testing of these diverse approaches to ameliorate AD pathology has been made possible by the existence of numerous transgenic mouse models which each mirror specific aspects of AD pathology. None of the current murine models is a perfect match of the human disease. Perhaps the most exciting of the therapeutic approaches being developed is immunomodulation targeting the aggregating proteins, Aβ and tau. This type of AD therapy is currently being assessed in many transgenic mouse models, and promising findings have led to clinical trials. However, there is a discrepancy between results in murine models and ongoing clinical trials, which highlight the limitations of these models and also of our understanding of the underlying etiology and pathogenesis of AD. Because of these uncertainties, Tg models for AD are continuously being refined with the aim to better understand the disease and to enhance the predictive validity of potential treatments such as immunotherapies.
Keywords: Transgenic mice; Amyloid β; Congophilic angiopathy; tau; Immunization; Neurofibrillary tangles; Immunomodulation; Alzheimer's disease;

Animal models reveal role for tau phosphorylation in human disease by Jürgen Götz; Amadeus Gladbach; Luis Pennanen; Janet van Eersel; Andreas Schild; Della David; Lars M. Ittner (860-871).
Many proteins that are implicated in human disease are posttranslationally modified. This includes the microtubule-associated protein tau that is deposited in a hyperphosphorylated form in brains of Alzheimer's disease patients. The focus of this review article is on the physiological and pathological phosphorylation of tau; the relevance of aberrant phosphorylation for disease; the role of kinases and phosphatases in this process; its modeling in transgenic mice, flies, and worms; and implications of phosphorylation for therapeutic intervention.
Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Amyloid; Drosophila; Frontotemporal dementia; Kinase; Mice; Nematode; Phosphatase; Phosphorylation; Tau; Transgenic;

The brains of the adult mouse and human possess neural stem cells (NSCs) that retain the capacity to generate new neurons through the process of neurogenesis. They share the same anatomical locations of stem cell niches in the brain, as well as the prominent feature of rostral migratory stream formed by neuroblasts migrating from the lateral ventricles towards the olfactory bulb. Therefore the mouse possesses some fundamental features that may qualify it as a relevant model for adult human neurogenesis. Adult born young hippocampal neurons in the mouse display the unique property of enhanced plasticity, and can integrate physically and functionally into existing neural circuits in the brain. Such crucial properties of neurogenesis may at least partially underlie the improved learning and memory functions observed in the mouse when hippocampal neurogenesis is augmented, leading to the suggestion that neurogenesis induction may be a novel therapeutic approach for diseases with cognitive impairments such as Alzheimer's disease (AD). Research towards this goal has benefited significantly from the use of AD mouse models to facilitate the understanding in the impact of AD pathology on neurogenesis. The present article reviews the growing body of controversial data on altered neurogenesis in mouse models of AD and attempts to assess their relative relevance to humans.
Keywords: Neural stem cell; Neurogenesis; Alzheimer's disease; Mouse model; Beta amyloid; Presenilin;

The number of disease models that involve an aspect of blood–brain barrier (BBB) dysregulation have increased tremendously. The main factors contributing to this expansion have been an increased number of diseases in which the BBB is known to be involved, an increase in the known functions of the BBB, and an increase in the number of models and tools with which those diverse functions can be studied. In many cases, the BBB may be a target of disease; current thinking would include hypertensive encephalopathy and perhaps stroke in this category. Another category are those diseases in which special attributes of the BBB may predispose to disease; for example, the ability of a pathogen to cross the BBB often depends on the pathogen's ability to invoke transcytotic pathways in the brain endothelial or choroid plexus cell. Of special interest are those diseases in which the BBB may be the primary seat of disease or play a major role in the onset or progression of the disease. An increasing number of diseases are so categorized in which BBB dysfunction or dysregulation plays a major role; this review highlights such roles for the BBB including those proposed for Alzheimer's disease and obesity.
Keywords: Blood–brain Barrier, Models; Stroke; Obesity; Alzheimer's Disease; Multiple Sclerosis; Transcytosis; Paracellular; Neuroimmune; Choroid Plexus;

Inflammation in transgenic mouse models of neurodegenerative disorders by Claudia Schwab; Andis Klegeris; Patrick. L. McGeer (889-902).
Much evidence is available that inflammation contributes to the development of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease. Our review investigates how well current mouse models reflect this aspect of the pathogenesis.Transgenic models of AD have been available for several years and are the most extensively studied. Modulation of cytokine levels, activation of microglia and, to a lesser extent, activation of the complement system have been reported. Mouse models of PD and HD so far show less evidence for the involvement of inflammation.An increasing number of transgenic mouse strains is being created to model human neurodegenerative diseases. A perfect model should reflect all aspects of a disease. It is important to evaluate continuously the models for their match with the human disease and reevaluate them in light of new findings in human patients.Although none of the transgenic mouse models recapitulates all aspects of the human disorder they represent, all models have provided valuable information on basic molecular pathways. In particular, the mouse models of Alzheimer disease have also led to the development of new therapeutic strategies such as vaccination and modulation of microglial activity.
Keywords: Transgenic mice; Alzheimer's disease; Parkinson's disease; Huntington's disease; Immune system; Microglia; Cytokines; Complement system;

Transgenic models for cytokine-induced neurological disease by Iain L. Campbell; Markus J. Hofer; Axel Pagenstecher (903-917).
Considerable evidence supports the idea that cytokines are important mediators of pathophysiologic processes within the central nervous system (CNS). Numerous studies have documented the increased production of various cytokines in the human CNS in a variety of neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders. Deciphering cytokine actions in the intact CNS has important implications for our understanding of the pathogenesis and treatment of these disorders. One approach to address this problem that has been used widely employs transgenic mice with CNS-targeted production of different cytokines. Transgenic production of cytokines in the CNS of mice allows not only for the investigation of complex cellular responses at a localized level in the intact brain but also more closely recapitulates the expression of these mediators as found in disease states. As discussed in this review, the findings show that these transgenic animals exhibit wide-ranging structural and functional deficits that are linked to the development of distinct neuroinflammatory responses which are relatively specific for each cytokine. These cytokine-induced alterations often recapitulate those found in various human neurological disorders not only underscoring the relevance of these models but also reinforcing the clinicopathogenetic significance of cytokines in diseases of the CNS.
Keywords: Central nervous system; Cytokine; Interferon; Interleukin-6; Interleukin-12; Neurological disease; Transgenic mouse; Transforming growth factor-beta;

Evaluation of autophagy using mouse models of brain injury by Alicia K. Au; Hülya Bayir; Patrick M. Kochanek; Robert S.B. Clark (918-923).
Autophagy is a homeostatic, carefully regulated, and dynamic process for intracellular recycling of bulk proteins, aging organelles, and lipids. Autophagy occurs in all tissues and cell types, including the brain and neurons. Alteration in the dynamics of autophagy has been observed in many diseases of the central nervous system. Disruption of autophagy for an extended period of time results in accumulation of unwanted proteins and neurodegeneration. However, the role of enhanced autophagy after acute brain injury remains undefined. Established mouse models of brain injury will be valuable in clarifying the role of autophagy after brain injury and are the topic of discussion in this review.
Keywords: Autophagosome; Controlled cortical impact; Hypoxia–ischemia; Mitophagy; Traumatic brain injury;

Murine models of human neuropathic pain by Mariapia Colleoni; Paola Sacerdote (924-933).
Neuropathic pain refers to pain that originates from pathology of the nervous system. Diabetes, infection (herpes zoster), nerve compression, nerve trauma, and autoimmune diseases are examples of diseases that may cause neuropathic pain. Unfortunately no satisfactory treatment is yet available for this type of pain. This consideration has led to an explosion of interest for the underlying mechanisms, accompanied by a growing number of animal models. In recent years, most of the neuropathic pain models initially developed in the rat have been translated to mice in order to exploit the resource represented by genetically modified mice. Obviously the most useful animal models of pain would be ones in which the etiology of the pain would be endogenous and not induced by the experimenters: together with the classic models based on peripheral nerve ligation, in the last years other techniques are being developed that mimic more closely clinical pain syndromes, often by attempting to induce the disease associated to neuropathic pain. Although several variables must be taken into account when using animal models for mimicking clinical neuropathic pain, the huge number of models that are now reproducible and well characterized should help to reach important goals in the comprehension of mechanisms and to discover novel therapeutic target for this disease.
Keywords: Hyperalgesia; Mouse models; Neuropathic pain; Sciatic nerve;