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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Sex and gonadal hormones in mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease: what is relevant to the human condition?

Dena B Dubal*, Lauren Broestl and Kurtresha Worden

Author Affiliations

Laboratory of Neuroscience and Aging Research, Department of Neurology, Sandler Neurosciences Center, Room 212B, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94158, USA

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Biology of Sex Differences 2012, 3:24  doi:10.1186/2042-6410-3-24

Published: 5 November 2012

Abstract

Biologic sex and gonadal hormones matter in human aging and diseases of aging such as Alzheimer’s – and the importance of studying their influences relates directly to human health. The goal of this article is to review the literature to date on sex and hormones in mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) with an exclusive focus on interpreting the relevance of findings to the human condition. To this end, we highlight advances in AD and in sex and hormone biology, discuss what these advances mean for merging the two fields, review the current mouse model literature, raise major unresolved questions, and offer a research framework that incorporates human reproductive aging for future studies aimed at translational discoveries in this important area. Unraveling human relevant pathways in sex and hormone-based biology may ultimately pave the way to novel and urgently needed treatments for AD and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Keywords:
Sex; Gender; Brain; Alzheimer’s disease; Aβ; Tau; Neurodegeneration; Sex chromosomes; Hormones; Estrogen; Progesterone; Testosterone; Androgens; Cognition; Behavior; Pathology; Transgenic; Mouse; Human; Aging; Reproductive aging; Menopause; Andropause