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Open Access Experimental Models of Parkinson's Disease: Insights from Many Models

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Abstract: Toxin-induced and genetic experimental models have been invaluable in investigating idiopathic Parkinson's disease (PD). The neurotoxins—reserpine, 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA), 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6tetrahydropyridine (MPTP), and methamphetamine—have been used to develop parkinsonian models in a wide variety of species. Both 6-OHDA and MPTP can replicate the neurochemical, morphologic, and behavioral changes seen in human disease. The unilateral 6-OHDA rat model is an excellent model for testing and determining modes of action of new pharmacologic compounds. The nonhuman primate MPTP-induced par kinsonian model has behavioral features that best approximate idiopathic PD. These induced and genetic models have been used to study the pathophysiology of the degenerating nigrostriatal system and to evaluate novel therapeutic strategies. Important differences within these models provide insights into various aspects of the dopaminergic phenotype and its role as a target in disease. These models provide an avenue to evaluate many anti-parkinsonian compounds, such as levodopa, which was first evaluated in an animal model and is the gold standard of parkinsonian treatment today.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Comparative Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California 2: The Parkinson's Institute, Sunnyvale, California 3: ZymoGenetics, Seattle, Washington

Publication date: 1999-08-01

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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