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Trends Neurosci. 2004 Nov;27(11):691-7.

Genetic mouse models of Huntington's and Parkinson's diseases: illuminating but imperfect.

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  • 1Mental Retardation Research Center, The David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.


Genetic mouse models based on identification of genes that cause Huntington's and Parkinson's diseases have revolutionized understanding of the mechanistic pathophysiological progression of these disorders. These models allow the earliest manifestations of the diseases to be identified, and they display behavioral, neuropathological and electrophysiological deficits that can be followed over time in mechanistic and drug studies. An intriguing feature is that they do not reproduce the relatively selective and massive cell loss characterizing the human diseases. There is more information on Huntington's disease models because the disorder involves a single gene that was identified over ten years ago; genetic mutations causing Parkinson's disease are rare and were discovered more recently, and models of the disease have been generated only within the past few years.

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