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Parkinson’s Disease
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 658083, 7 pages
Review Article

Limitations of Animal Models of Parkinson's Disease

Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology, The Chicago Medical School, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, 3333 Green Bay Road, North Chicago, IL 60064-3037, USA

Received 10 August 2010; Revised 24 September 2010; Accepted 18 October 2010

Academic Editor: Enrico Schmidt

Copyright © 2011 J. A. Potashkin et al. 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.


Most cases of Parkinson's disease (PD) are sporadic. When choosing an animal model for idiopathic PD, one must consider the extent of similarity or divergence between the physiology, anatomy, behavior, and regulation of gene expression between humans and the animal. Rodents and nonhuman primates are used most frequently in PD research because when a Parkinsonian state is induced, they mimic many aspects of idiopathic PD. These models have been useful in our understanding of the etiology of the disease and provide a means for testing new treatments. However, the current animal models often fall short in replicating the true pathophysiology occurring in idiopathic PD, and thus results from animal models often do not translate to the clinic. In this paper we will explain the limitations of animal models of PD and why their use is inappropriate for the study of some aspects of PD.