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Neurobiol Dis. 2012 Jun;46(3):597-606. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2011.12.040. Epub 2012 Jan 3.

Animal models of the non-motor features of Parkinson's disease.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, The David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1769, USA.


The non-motor symptoms (NMS) of Parkinson's disease (PD) occur in roughly 90% of patients, have a profound negative impact on their quality of life, and often go undiagnosed. NMS typically involve many functional systems, and include sleep disturbances, neuropsychiatric and cognitive deficits, and autonomic and sensory dysfunction. The development and use of animal models have provided valuable insight into the classical motor symptoms of PD over the past few decades. Toxin-induced models provide a suitable approach to study aspects of the disease that derive from the loss of nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons, a cardinal feature of PD. This also includes some NMS, primarily cognitive dysfunction. However, several NMS poorly respond to dopaminergic treatments, suggesting that they may be due to other pathologies. Recently developed genetic models of PD are providing new ways to model these NMS and identify their mechanisms. This review summarizes the current available literature on the ability of both toxin-induced and genetically-based animal models to reproduce the NMS of PD.

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