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Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2007;31(6):874-81. Epub 2007 Apr 10.

Mimicking human bipolar ion dysregulation models mania in rats.

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  • 1Mood Disorders Research Program, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, Kentucky 40202, USA.


Psychiatric diseases in general, and bipolar illness in particular, are difficult to model in animals since the subjective nature of the core symptoms appears to preclude objective observation of behavioral changes. An adequate animal model of a psychiatric condition must fulfill three core criteria: share pathophysiological characteristics of the human condition (face validity), have similar behavioral manifestations as the human disease (construct validity), and improve with medications that improve the symptoms seen in afflicted humans (predictive validity). The ouabain model for bipolar illness mimics a widely reproduced biologic abnormality in mania: reduced sodium pump activity. An intracerebroventricular (ICV) administration of 5microL 10(-3)M ouabain induces motoric hyperactivity preventable by lithium, carbamazepine, and haloperidol. ICV ouabain may also produce environmentally dependent hypoactivity. The model, however, has not yet been examined for other potential manic behavior in rats such as reduced need for sleep, increased sexual activity, or increased irritability. While additional characterization of the model is required, the ouabain model for bipolar illness is the only available animal model that fulfills the three criteria for an adequate animal model for bipolar illness.

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