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Neuropsychopharmacology. 2000 Sep;23(3):223-39.

To model a psychiatric disorder in animals: schizophrenia as a reality test.

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Clinical Brain Disorders Branch, Intramural Research Program, National Institute of Mental Health, NIH, IRP,., Bethesda, MD 20892-1385, USA.


Animal modeling has been instrumental in dissecting pathophysiological mechanisms and designing more effective therapies in many areas of medicine but not so in psychiatry. The critical obstacle in modeling psychiatric disorders has been limited information about their origin and underlying neural mechanisms. Recently, with rapidly growing knowledge about the neurobiology and genetics of psychiatric disorders, animal models of these diseases are gaining popularity in psychiatric research. New models of schizophrenia mimic biological phenomena associated with the clinical condition, particularly developmental changes in the cortex, abnormalities of glutamate neurotransmission, and genetic characteristics of selected behavioral traits. The biological fidelity of some aspects of these new models suggests that they will be useful in the development of new therapies, in identifying candidate genes, and in providing new insights about pathophysiology and etiology.

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