Basis of Development of Animal Models in Psychiatry: An Overview

  • William T. McKinney


In the last fifteen to twenty years the range of research activities that could be subsumed under the general heading of “animal modeling research” has expanded enormously. There are many approaches to developing animal models of depression in particular, and it will quickly become apparent that there is quite a variety of studies underway. In order to understand and evaluate the rapidly expanding literature in several areas of animal modeling research, there must first be a fundamental understanding of the basis and justification for having animal models in the first place. It is also important that this understanding be combined with a realization of the limitations of animal models in relation to psychiatric syndromes and their role in a comprehensive program of psychiatric research with affective disorders as well as other forms of psychopathology. If the fundamental philosophy, rationale, and advantages of animal models are not understood along with their limitations, there will remain a significant risk of either an uninformed rejection of animal modeling research or, on the other hand, an overacceptance of its direct clinical relevance.


Experimental Paradigm Animal Preparation Chronic Unpredictable Stressor Depressive Syndrome Psychiatric Syndrome 


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Boston 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • William T. McKinney

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