The studies on aging of the human brain are hampered by the obvious difficulties of carrying out investigations on fresh samples. On the other hand, post-mortem material may provide erroneous information because of the different circumstances and factors that can affect the reliability of the data obtained. These include, first of all, the agonal state of the patient and the post-mortem delay in performing autopsy. Neurobiological, genetic, and molecular studies conducted in laboratory rodents or in vitro systems, have documented the vulnerability of selected pools of neurons and the changes occurring in several neural systems and molecular processing with advancing age. However, in order to get results matching as much as possible those that potentially can be found in the old human brain, some animal models have been developed. These models, though constituting abundant sources of fresh brain samples to be investigated, may be helpful in better delineating the mechanisms of
physiological brain aging as well as the early pathogenic determinants of age-related diseases. In turn, testing of new therapeutic approaches to treat neurodegenerative diseases, such as AD, can be carried out on these models.
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