Rodent models of neurodegenerative disease are essential tools for biomedical research and drug discovery. Like all research tools they have limitations, and these limitations can vary from model to model. For example, some models of Alzheimer’s disease develop plaques but not neuronal loss. Some have motor or sensory deficits that may confound cognitive testing. Of the hundreds of models that have been created, none fully recapitulates human disease. A significant challenge for researchers, then, is to determine which model is best suited for their experimental questions. In addition, they must keep in mind the particularities of a model when interpreting their results or those reported in the literature. Sufficient information is required to make informed choices and determinations, but tracking down the relevant information can be difficult and time-consuming.
The research model database on Alzforum provides information on selected rodent models of Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, Parkinson's and related neurodegenerative disorders. The goal of the database is to be a source of thoughtfully curated, accurate, and current information that may be useful when selecting a model for a research project or trying to reconcile the differences between models in the literature.
The database contains a selected set of models. With some exceptions, we focus on models that have been well-characterized in the literature and that exhibit core pathological hallmarks of the disease they are intended to model. Each entry summarizes the neuropathology and behavior of the animal to the extent it is known. We organize this information around fairly broad phenotype categories (see Methods) in order to facilitate comparisons between models. Some of the models in the database have accompanying “lifelines” that illustrate the development of key phenotypes over the rodent lifespan.
This database is updated regularly as new information becomes available and new models are generated. We rely on researchers to help us with this endeavor. We encourage you to contact us with information that would enrich the current entries or to suggest a model for inclusion. We can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are grateful to the many scientists who provided valuable feedback on this database and the models within it. In particular, we wish to thank Mike Sasner of The Jackson Laboratory for providing regular input and updates on JAX mice.
The curation of the initial set of ALS research models was supported in part by a supplemental grant from NINDS (1-R21-NS-097351-01) through the generous assistance of Cat Lutz at The Jackson Laboratory.
The creation of the PD models resource was a collaborative effort between Alzforum and The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF).