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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2007 (2007), Article ID 52087, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2007/52087
Review Article

The Importance of Cognitive Phenotypes in Experimental Modeling of Animal Anxiety and Depression

Laboratory of Clinical Science, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, MD 20892-1264, USA

Received 6 March 2007; Accepted 5 June 2007

Academic Editor: Georges Chapouthier

Copyright © 2007 Allan V. Kalueff and Dennis L. Murphy. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Cognitive dysfunctions are commonly seen in many stress-related disorders, including anxiety and depression—the world's most common neuropsychiatric illnesses. Various genetic, pharmacological, and behavioral animal models have long been used to establish animal anxiety-like and depression-like phenotypes, as well as to assess their memory, learning, and other cognitive functions. Mounting clinical and animal evidences strongly supports the notion that disturbed cognitions represent an important pathogenetic factor in anxiety and depression, and may also play a role in integrating the two disorders within a common stress-precipitated developmental pathway. This paper evaluates why and how the assessment of cognitive and emotional domains may improve our understanding of animal behaviors via different high-throughput tests and enable a better translation of animal phenotypes into human brain disorders.