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Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2011 Sep;1(1):a009316. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a009316.

A guide to neurotoxic animal models of Parkinson's disease.

Author information

  • Department of Neurology in the Center for Translational Neuromedicine, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York 14625, USA. kim_tieu@urmc.rochester.edu


Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurological movement disorder primarily resulting from damage to the nigrostriatal dopaminergic pathway. To elucidate the pathogenesis, mechanisms of cell death, and to evaluate therapeutic strategies for PD, numerous animal models have been developed. Understanding the strengths and limitations of these models can significantly impact the choice of model, experimental design, and data interpretation. The primary objectives of this article are twofold: First, to assist new investigators who are contemplating embarking on PD research to navigate through the available animal models. Emphasis will be placed on common neurotoxic murine models in which toxic molecules are used to lesion the nigrostriatal dopaminergic system. And second, to provide an overview of basic technical requirements for assessing the pathology, structure, and function of the nigrostriatal pathway.

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