Recently it has been shown that over 3-year-old wild-type South American rodents, Octodon degus, the "common degu" or degu, of their own accord develop Alzheimer's disease neuropathological hallmarks: amyloid-β-peptide depositions and accumulation of tau-protein. Here we analyzed brains of 1-, 3- and 6-year-old degu's, bred in standard animal facilities. Significant amounts of Aβ and tau deposits are present in the hippocampal formation of 6-year-old O. degus, primarily in the white matter, but these hippocampal Aβ and tau deposits are not present in younger ones. In contrast, significant Aβ deposits in blood vessel walls are already found in 3-year-old animals. The tau deposits in the hippocampal formation coincide with a significant decrease in staining for myelin in the same areas, indicating hippocampal disconnection and, likely, dysfunction. Our findings indicate that (1) cerebral amyloid angiopathy precedes brain parenchyma pathology in aged degu's and (2) the onset of disease seems to be delayed in the laboratory vs. wild-type degu's. © 2009 Elsevier Inc.