Aging societies face an increasing prevalence of neurodegenerative disorders for which no cure exists. The paucity of relevant animal models that faithfully reproduce clinical and pathogenic features of neurodegenerative diseases is a major cause for the lack of effective therapies. Clinically distinct disorders, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, are driven by overlapping pathogenic mechanisms that converge onto vulnerable neurons to ultimately cause abnormal clinical outcomes. These similarities, particularly in the early phases of neurodegeneration, might help identify appropriate animal model systems for studying of cell pathology. While reviewing some of the cellular mechanisms of disease progression, we discuss the MPTP-induced model of Parkinsonism in marmoset monkeys as a model system for construct, face and predictive validity in neurodegenerative studies.