A novel tau-based rhesus monkey model of Alzheimer's pathogenesis

Danielle Beckman, Paramita Chakrabarty, Sean Ott, Amanda Dao, Eric Zhou, William G. Janssen, Kristine Donis-Cox, Scott Muller, Jeffrey H. Kordower, John H. Morrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Introduction: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a devastating condition with no effective treatments, with promising findings in rodents failing to translate into successful therapies for patients. Methods: Targeting the vulnerable entorhinal cortex (ERC), rhesus monkeys received two injections of an adeno-associated virus expressing a double tau mutation (AAV-P301L/S320F) in the left hemisphere, and control AAV-green fluorescent protein in the right ERC. Noninjected aged-matched monkeys served as additional controls. Results: Within 3 months we observed evidence of misfolded tau propagation, similar to what is hypothesized to occur in humans. Viral delivery of human 4R-tau also coaptates monkey 3R-tau via permissive templating. Tau spreading is accompanied by robust neuroinflammatory response driven by TREM2+ microglia, with biomarkers of inflammation and neuronal loss in the cerebrospinal fluid and plasma. Discussion: These results highlight the initial stages of tau seeding and propagation in a primate model, a more powerful translational approach for the development of new therapies for AD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)933-945
Number of pages13
JournalAlzheimer's and Dementia
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Alzheimer's Disease
  • biomarkers
  • inflammation
  • microglia
  • rhesus monkey
  • tau

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health Policy
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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