New Genetically Engineered Rat Model Can Aid Alzheimer’s Research, Study Says

New Genetically Engineered Rat Model Can Aid Alzheimer’s Research, Study Says
A rat model genetically engineered to express high levels of two genes can help researchers learn more about the disease mechanisms that lead to Alzheimer’s disease, a new study shows. The study, “Memory deficiency, cerebral amyloid angiopathy, and amyloid-β plaques in APP+PS1 double transgenic rat model of Alzheimer’s disease,” was published in the journal PLOS One. The amyloid precursor protein (APP) produces small protein molecules called amyloid-β (Aβ) peptides. These Aβ peptides progressively accumulate and form plaques in the brain, leading to the development of Alzheimer's. Mutations in the presenilin 1 (PS1) gene are known to result in early-onset Alzheimer's and can lead to the overproduction of Aβ42, one of the major types of Aβ peptides. Animal models are a great tool for investigating the role of specific gene mutations in Alzheimer's, but few of them exist to study the disease. For this purpose, University of Missouri researchers recently engineered rats with human APP and PS1 proteins. To better characterize this rat model, they carried out a series of tests to determine behavioral assessment and pathology of older female rats. To assess behavior in these animals, researchers used a test called the Barnes maze — which relies on tasks carried out by the hippocampus, an area of the brain that
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