The most common neurodegenerative conditions in humans are Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, spinal muscular atrophy and ataxia-telangiectasia. These conditions are caused by genetic, aging, and/or environmental insults. Neurodegenerative disease models are traditionally studied in rodents, especially transgenically manipulated mice. However, these seldom replicate the complex human diseases in a clinically relevant fashion and are mainly used to study pathologic mechanisms. Large animal models may offer more clinically relevant symptoms and are usually induced by administration of toxic substances. However, there is a recent interest in development of these disease conditions in swine with or without transgenic manipulation.
M. Michael Swindle, DVM, Professor Emeritus, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston; Veterinary Consultant for Swine