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J Psychiatry Neurosci. 2001 Nov;26(5):395-410.

Animal models of schizophrenia: a critical review.

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  • 1Douglas Hospital Research Centre, Departments of Psychiatry and of Neurology and Neurosurgery, McGill University, Montreal, Que.


Current research into schizophrenia has remained highly fragmented, much like the clinical presentation of the disease itself. Differing theories as to the cause and progression of schizophrenia, as well as the heterogeneity of clinical symptoms, have made it difficult to develop a coherent framework suitable for animal modelling. However, a number of limited animal models have been developed to explore various causative theories and to test specific mechanistic hypotheses. Historically, these models have been based on the manipulation of neurotransmitter systems believed to be involved in schizophrenia. In recent years, the emphasis has shifted to targeting relevant brain regions in an attempt to explore potential etiologic hypotheses. The specific animal models developed within these frameworks are described in this review. Emphasis is placed on the critical evaluation of currently available models because these models help to shape the direction of future research.

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