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Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2007;31(6):825-31. Epub 2007 May 31.

Animal models of bipolar disorder and mood stabilizer efficacy: a critical need for improvement.

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Mood and Anxiety Program, Department of Psychiatry, University of Maryland School of Medicine, 701 West Pratt Street, Suite 388, Baltimore, Maryland 21201, USA.


The limited number of suitable animal models of bipolar disorder available for in-depth behavioral, biochemical, histological, and pharmacological analysis is a rate-limiting step in the process of understanding the relevant neurobiology of the disorder, as well as the development of novel medications. In the search for new models, both new and old approaches hold promise for future discoveries. Clinical studies regarding the underlying genetics and pathophysiology of bipolar disorder are providing important clues. In particular, the identification of susceptibility genes for bipolar disorder will help to define specific neurobiological processes, and associated behaviors, that are unquestionably involved in the pathways connecting genes and distal symptoms. These endophenotypes will hold great value in further enhancing the validity of animal models and will strongly complement symptom-based models and models of medication efficacy. Regardless of the path taken by different researchers to develop better models, we believe that this area of work requires additional attention not only from researchers but also from funding agencies.

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