A mouse model of naturally occurring age-related cognitive impairment
Age-related cognitive impairment (ARCI) is a neurological condition that affects millions of older people, but little is known about the increased risk of developing more severe neurodegeneration and dementia. Preclinical research is needed to understand the mechanisms of the impairment and the neuropathology associated with it. We have characterized a model of naturally occurring ARCI in the C57BL/6J mouse strain that shows an age-dependent development of cognitive impairment. As in people, some mice have little cognitive impairment while others have more severe cognitive impairment. Therefore, mice can be categorized as resistant or susceptible and the two groups can be studied for behavioral and neuropathology differences. Preliminary observations show no difference in strength and agility test scores between ARCI resistant and susceptible mice of either sex suggesting the cognitive impairment in ARCI susceptible mice is not accompanied by impairment in daily living activities, similar to ARCI in humans. The hippocampal area of the brain from ARCI susceptible mice shows evidence of an increase in the inflammatory cytokine MCP-1 compared to ARCI resistant mice, suggesting inflammation may be associated with ARCI. These preliminary observations suggest that ARCI in C57BL/6J mice could be a high-impact model to study how resilience to brain aging may predict resilience to dementia associated with Alzheimer's disease and other age-related neurological conditions.
Keywords: Age-related cognitive impairment, C57BL/6 mouse, brain aging, cognitive resilience