Animal models of tremor

Mov Disord. 1999 Jul;14(4):557-71. doi: 10.1002/1531-8257(199907)14:4<557::aid-mds1004>;2-g.


Animal models of tremor have been widely used in experimental neurology, because they are an indispensable requirement for understanding the pathophysiology of human tremor disorders and the development of new therapeutic agents. This review focuses on three approaches to produce tremor in animals (application of tremorgenic drugs, experimental central nervous system lesions, study of genetic mutants) and their use in simulating tremor syndromes of humans. Whereas harmaline induces a postural/kinetic tremor in animals that shares some features with human essential tremor/enhanced physiological tremor, MPTP tremor is the best model available for rest tremor in people. The tremor following experimental lesion of the ventromedial tegmentum in primates closely resembles Holmes tremor in humans, whereas cerebellar intention tremor is mimicked by cooling of the lateral cerebellar nuclei. The "campus syndrome," discovered in a breed of Pietrain pigs, might be a useful model of human orthostatic tremor. However, no animal model has yet been generated that exactly recreates all features of any of the known tremor disorders in humans. Problems encountered when comparing tremor in animals and humans include differing tremor frequencies and the uncertainty, if specific transmitter abnormalities/central nervous system lesions seen in animal tremor models are characteristic for their human counterparts. The search for adequate tremor models continues.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / chemically induced
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / genetics
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Harmaline
  • Humans
  • Mammals
  • Species Specificity
  • Tremor* / classification
  • Tremor* / etiology


  • Harmaline