Deposits of amyloid beta protein in the central nervous system of transgenic mice

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Science  19 Jul 1991:
Vol. 253, Issue 5017, pp. 323-325
DOI: 10.1126/science.1857970


Alzheimer's disease is characterized by widespread deposition of amyloid in the central nervous system. The 4-kilodalton amyloid beta protein is derived from a larger amyloid precursor protein and forms amyloid deposits in the brain by an unknown pathological mechanism. Except for aged nonhuman primates, there is no animal model for Alzheimer's disease. Transgenic mice expressing amyloid beta protein in the brain could provide such a model. To investigate this possibility, the 4-kilodalton human amyloid beta protein was expressed under the control of the promoter of the human amyloid precursor protein in two lines of transgenic mice. Amyloid beta protein accumulated in the dendrites of some but not all hippocampal neurons in 1-year-old transgenic mice. Aggregates of the amyloid beta protein formed amyloid-like fibrils that are similar in appearance to those in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease.