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Curr Alzheimer Res. 2012 Mar;9(3):298-314.

Dogs with cognitive dysfunction syndrome: a natural model of Alzheimer's disease.

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  • 1Unitat de Bioquímica i Biologia Molecular, Institut d’Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer, Universitat de Barcelona and Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red sobre Enfermedades Neurodegenerativas, Barcelona, Spain.


In the search for appropriate models for Alzheimer's disease (AD) involving animals other than rodents, several laboratories are working with animals that naturally develop cognitive dysfunction. Among the animals tested, dogs are quite unique in helping to elucidate the cascade of events that take place in brain amyloid-beta (Aβ)deposition aging, and cognitive deficit. Recent innovative research has validated human methods and tools for the analysis of canine neuropathology and has allowed the development of two different approaches to investigate dogs as natural models of AD. The first approach relates AD-like neuropathy with the decline in memory and learning ability in aged housed dogs in a highly controlled laboratory environment. The second approach involves research in family-owned animals with cognitive dysfunction syndrome. In this review, we compare the strengths and limitations of housed and family-owned canine models, and appraise their usefulness for deciphering the early mechanisms of AD and developing innovative therapies.

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