Towards new models of disease and physiology in the neurosciences: the role of induced and naturally occurring mutations.


There is a dearth of good mouse models for central nervous system (CNS) disorders. However, the development of gene-targeted technology and the recognition of the importance of the mouse as a model organism have led to the development of a range of behavioural tests for mice. Spontaneous mutations in mice have already provided important information about the role of novel gene products in disorders such as epilepsy and deafness. This has provided the impetus to the establishment of large-scale mutagenesis programmes to generate new mutations. Tests of sensory and motor function have previously been most frequently used as these are simple to perform and the phenotypes are relatively obvious. Subtle phenotypes, of relevance to pyschiatric disorders such as anxiety and schizophrenia, can be detected using more complex tests. Screens such as prepulse inhibition and startle have been adapted for mice and these can be run with relatively high throughput using fully automated equipment. Other behaviours such as sleep and circadian rhythms, learning and memory and nociception can also be assessed. New technological advances in non-invasive imaging and neurochemical analyses have meant that these techniques can be readily applied to mouse phenotyping. The use of these screens together with mutagenesis is already beginning to increase the numbers of mouse models of potential relevance to CNS diseases.

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@article{Hunter2000TowardsNM, title={Towards new models of disease and physiology in the neurosciences: the role of induced and naturally occurring mutations.}, author={Alan Hunter and Patrick M. Nolan and Steve D. M. Brown}, journal={Human molecular genetics}, year={2000}, volume={9 6}, pages={893-900} }