Are rodent models of Parkinson's disease behaving as they should?

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In recent years our understanding of Parkinson's disease has expanded both in terms of pathological hallmarks as well as relevant genetic influences. In parallel with the aetiological discoveries a multitude of PD animal models have been established. The vast majority of these are rodent models based on environmental, genetic and mechanistic insight. A major challenge in many of these models is their ability to only recapitulate some of the complex disease features seen in humans. Although symptom alleviation and clinical signs are of utmost importance in therapeutic research many of these models lack comprehensive behavioural testing. While non-motor symptoms become increasingly important as early diagnostic markers in PD, they are poorly characterized in rodents. In this review we look at well-established and more recent animal models of PD in terms of behavioural characterization and discuss how they can best contribute to progression in Parkinson's research.

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