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Mol Neurodegener 2020 Nov 10; 15(1):67







BACKGROUND: Late-onset Alzheimer's disease (LOAD) is the most common form of dementia worldwide. To date, animal models of Alzheimer's have focused on rare familial mutations, due to a lack of frank neuropathology from models based on common disease genes. Recent multi-cohort studies of postmortem human brain transcriptomes have identified a set of 30 gene co-expression modules associated with LOAD, providing a molecular catalog of relevant endophenotypes.

RESULTS: This resource enables precise gene-based alignment between new animal models and human molecular signatures of disease. Here, we describe a new resource to efficiently screen mouse models for LOAD relevance. A new NanoString nCounter® Mouse AD panel was designed to correlate key human disease processes and pathways with mRNA from mouse brains. Analysis of the 5xFAD mouse, a widely used amyloid pathology model, and three mouse models based on LOAD genetics carrying APOE4 and TREM2*R47H alleles demonstrated overlaps with distinct human AD modules that, in turn, were functionally enriched in key disease-associated pathways. Comprehensive comparison with full transcriptome data from same-sample RNA-Seq showed strong correlation between gene expression changes independent of experimental platform.

CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, we show that the nCounter Mouse AD panel offers a rapid, cost-effective and highly reproducible approach to assess disease relevance of potential LOAD mouse models.


We thank the many institutions and their staff that provided support for this study and who were involved in this collaboration. We would like to acknowledge Jamie Kuhar for her critically reading of the manuscript.

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License,