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A Journal on Psychiatry, Psychology and Psychopharmacology
Official Journal of the Italian Society of Social Psychiatry
Indexed/Abstracted in: EMBASE, e-psyche, PsycINFO, Scopus, Emerging Sources Citation Index
LATE BREAKING TOPICS IN PSYCHIATRY 2012
Minerva Psichiatrica 2012 June;53(2):133-44
Translational animal models in neuropsychiatric research
Eisener-Dorman A. F., Tarantino L. M.
Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
Human psychiatric disorders have been shown to have a complex etiology with a strong genetic component, serving as motivation for numerous studies aimed at identifying the causative genes. Genetic analysis of psychiatric disease in humans has been complicated by disease heterogeneity, overlap in disease diagnostic criteria, inadequate sample sizes and ethical issues. Behavioral endophenotypes in inbred mouse strains can be used to model different aspects of human psychiatric disorders, thereby resolving some of the obstacles that confound human studies. The remarkable array of genetic resources and tools that are available in mice has allowed researchers to investigate gene function and genetic networks using gene-driven and phenotype-driven approaches. Advances in our understanding of how naturally occurring genetic variation and various environmental factors affect complex traits have demonstrated a need for more sophisticated genetic/genomic tools and mouse resources. Here, we review some of these novel tools and consider their impact on the future of neuropsychiatric research using animal models.