Aging is the primary risk factor of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, the molecular events occurring during brain aging are extremely complex and still largely unknown. For a better understanding of these age-associated modifications, animal models as close as possible to humans are needed. We thus analyzed the transcriptome of the temporal cortex of the primate Microcebus murinus using human oligonucleotide microarrays (Affymetrix). Gene expression profiles were assessed in the temporal cortex of 6 young adults, 10 healthy old animals and 2 old, "AD-like" animals that presented b-amyloid plaques and cortical atrophy, which are pathognomonic signs of AD in humans. Gene expression data of the 14,911 genes that were detected in at least 3 samples were analyzed. By SAM (significance analysis of microarrays), we identified 47 genes that discriminated young from healthy old and "AD-like" animals. These findings were confirmed by principal component analysis (PCA). ANOVA of the expression data from the three groups identified 695 genes (including the 47 genes previously identified by SAM and PCA) with significant changes of expression in old and "AD-like" in comparison to young animals. About one third of these genes showed similar changes of expression in healthy aging and in AD-like animals, whereas more than two thirds showed opposite changes in these two groups in comparison to young animals. Hierarchical clustering analysis of the 695 markers indicated that each group had distinct expression profiles which characterized each group, especially the "AD-like" group. Functional categorization showed that most of the genes that were up-regulated in healthy old and down-regulated in "AD-like" animals belonged to metabolic pathways, particularly protein synthesis. These data suggest the existence of compensatory mechanisms during physiological brain aging that disappear in AD-like animals. These results open the way to new exploration of physiological and AD-like aging in primates.