Animal models of movement disorders have been invaluable in unravelling the pathological basis of human disease and in the search for novel effective therapies that address the unmet medical needs in the treatment of symptoms and provision of disease-modifying approaches. Using the examples of toxin-based approaches and genetic manipulation, we describe the use of animal models to explore both common and rare movement disorders that are either drug induced or are sporadic or familial in expression and that either have well-defined pathology or appear to reflect more general changes in neurotransmission and brain circuitry. Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease form a focus as largely basal ganglia disorders, with more complex disorders including multiple system atrophy, progressive supranuclear palsy and dystonia explored alongside amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The conclusion reached is that whilst current animal models have proved essential for improving knowledge of the pathogenesis of movement disorders, much remains to be done to exploit them for the development of novel therapeutic strategies to be explored in man.
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Huntington’s disease
- Multiple system atrophy
- Parkinson’s disease
- Progressive supranuclear palsy
- Toxin-based models
- Transgenic models