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Lab Anim Sci. 1999 Aug;49(4):363-71.

Experimental models of Parkinson's disease: insights from many models.

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Department of Comparative Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, California 94305-5410, USA.


Toxin-induced and genetic experimental models have been invaluable in investigating idiopathic Parkinson's disease (PD). The neurotoxins--reserpine, 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA), 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP), and methamphetamine--have been used to develop parkinsonian models in a wide variety of species. Both 6-OHDA and MPTP can replicate the neurochemical, morphologic, and behavioral changes seen in human disease. The unilateral 6-OHDA rat model is an excellent model for testing and determining modes of action of new pharmacologic compounds. The nonhuman primate MPTP-induced parkinsonian model has behavioral features that best approximate idiopathic PD. These induced and genetic models have been used to study the pathophysiology of the degenerating nigrostriatal system and to evaluate novel therapeutic strategies. Important differences within these models provide insights into various aspects of the dopaminergic phenotype and its role as a target in disease. These models provide an avenue to evaluate many anti-parkinsonian compounds, such as levodopa, which was first evaluated in an animal model and is the gold standard of parkinsonian treatment today.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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