Aging-related Alzheimer's disease-like neuropathology and functional decline in captive vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus aethiops sabaeus)

Brett M. Frye, Suzanne Craft, Caitlin S. Latimer, C. Dirk Keene, Thomas J. Montine, Thomas C. Register, Miranda E. Orr, Kylie Kavanagh, Shannon L. Macauley, Carol A. Shively

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Age-related neurodegeneration characteristic of late-onset Alzheimer's disease (LOAD) begins in middle age, well before symptoms. Translational models to identify modifiable risk factors are needed to understand etiology and identify therapeutic targets. Here, we outline the evidence supporting the vervet monkey (Chlorocebus aethiops sabaeus) as a model of aging-related AD-like neuropathology and associated phenotypes including cognitive function, physical function, glucose handling, intestinal physiology, and CSF, blood, and neuroimaging biomarkers. This review provides the most comprehensive multisystem description of aging in vervets to date. This review synthesizes a large body of evidence that suggests that aging vervets exhibit a coordinated suite of traits consistent with early AD and provide a powerful, naturally occurring model for LOAD. Notably, relationships are identified between AD-like neuropathology and modifiable risk factors. Gaps in knowledge and key limitations are provided to shape future studies to illuminate mechanisms underlying divergent neurocognitive aging trajectories and to develop interventions that increase resilience to aging-associated chronic disease, particularly, LOAD.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere23260
JournalAmerican Journal of Primatology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank all the students, staff, and faculty at the Wake Forest School of Medicine who supported the vervet studies reviewed here. This study was supported by National Institutes of Health (NIH) K08 AG065426 (Caitlin S. Latimer), R01HL087103 (Carol A. Shively), RF1AG058829 (Carol A. Shively & Suzanne Craft), P30 AG049638 (Suzanne Craft), Intramural Grant, Department of Pathology, Wake Forest School of Medicine Intramural Grant, (Carol A. Shively), Wake Forest Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center grant P30 AG21332 (Stephen B. Kritchevsky), Vervet Research Colony (P40-OD010965) (Matthew J. Jorgensen), the Wake Forest Clinical and Translational Science Institute (NCATS UL1TR001420), and the Nancy and Buster Alvord Endowment (C. Dirk Keene).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Wiley Periodicals LLC


  • African green monkey
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • cognitive decline
  • gait speed
  • vervet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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