Experimental animal models of Parkinson's disease: A transition from assessing symptomatology to α-synuclein targeted disease modification
With the understanding that α-synuclein plays a major role in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease (PD), novel animal models have been developed for conducting preclinical research in screening novel disease modifying therapies. Advancements in research techniques in α-synuclein targeted disease modification have utilised methods such as viral mediated expression of human α-synuclein, as well as the inoculation of pathogenic α-synuclein species from Lewy Bodies of PD patients, for accurately modelling progressive self-propagating neurodegeneration. In applying these cutting-edge research tools with sophisticated trial designs in preclinical drug trials, a useful platform has emerged for developing candidate agents with disease modifying actions, promising a greater chance of success for clinical translation. In this article, we describe the transition of well-established animal models of PD symptomatology to newly developed models of PD pathogenesis, with specific focus on methods of viral-mediated and inoculation of pathogenic α-synuclein, that aim to aid scientific translation of neuroprotective strategies.