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Stem Cells International
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 7828049, 12 pages
Review Article

Modeling Alzheimer’s Disease with Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells: Current Challenges and Future Concerns

1Department of Neurology, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, Hunan 410008, China
2Department of Human Genetics, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, USA
3State Key Laboratory of Medical Genetics, Central South University, Changsha, Hunan 410008, China

Received 11 September 2015; Revised 10 December 2015; Accepted 20 April 2016

Academic Editor: Luciano Vellon

Copyright © 2016 Weiwei Zhang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most prevalent type of dementia and its pathology is characterized by deposition of extracellular β-amyloid plaques, intracellular neurofibrillary tangles, and extensive neuron loss. While only a few familial AD cases are due to mutations in three causative genes (APP, PSEN1, and PSEN2), the ultimate cause behind the rest of the cases, called sporadic AD, remains unknown. Current animal and cellular models of human AD, which are based on the Aβ and tau hypotheses only, partially resemble the familial AD. As a result, there is a pressing need for the development of new models providing insights into the pathological mechanisms of AD and for the discovery of ways to treat or delay the onset of the disease. Recent preclinical research suggests that stem cells can be used to model AD. Indeed, human induced pluripotent stem cells can be differentiated into disease-relevant cell types that recapitulate the unique genome of a sporadic AD patient or family member. In this review, we will first summarize the current research findings on the genetic and pathological mechanisms of AD. We will then highlight the existing induced pluripotent stem cell models of AD and, lastly, discuss the potential clinical applications in this field.