Addressing the Discrepancies Between Animal Models and Human Alzheimer’s Disease Pathology: Implications for Translational Research

Baruh Polis, Abraham O. Samson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Animal models, particularly transgenic mice, are extensively used in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) research to emulate key disease hallmarks, such as amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles formation. Although these models have contributed to our understanding of AD pathogenesis and can be helpful in testing potential therapeutic interventions, their reliability is dubious. While preclinical studies have shown promise, clinical trials often yield disappointing results, highlighting a notable gap and disparity between animal models and human AD pathology. Existing models frequently overlook early-stage human pathologies and other key AD characteristics, thereby limiting their application in identifying optimal therapeutic interventions. Enhancing model reliability necessitates rigorous study design, comprehensive behavioral evaluations, and biomarker utilization. Overall, a nuanced understanding of each model’s neuropathology, its fidelity to human AD, and its limitations is essential for accurate interpretation and successful translation of findings. This article analyzes the discrepancies between animal models and human AD pathology that complicate the translation of findings from preclinical studies to clinical applications. We also delve into AD pathogenesis and attributes to propose a new perspective on this pathology and deliberate over the primary limitations of key experimental models. Additionally, we discuss several fundamental problems that may explain the translational failures and suggest some possible directions for more effective preclinical studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1199-1218
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number4
StatePublished - 16 Apr 2024

Bibliographical note

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© 2024 – IOS Press. All rights reserved.


  • Aging
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • animal models
  • validity


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