Parkinson's disease (PD) is a common neurodegenerative movement disorder afflicting millions of people in the United States. The advent of transgenic technologies has contributed to the development of several new mouse models, many of which recapitulate some aspects of the disease; however, no model has been demonstrated to faithfully reproduce the full constellation of symptoms seen in human PD. This may be due in part to the narrow focus on the dopamine-mediated motor deficits. As current research continues to unmask PD as a multi-system disorder, animal models should similarly evolve to include the non-motor features of the disease. This requires that typically cited behavioral test batteries be expanded. The major non-motor symptoms observed in PD patients include hyposmia, sleep disturbances, gastrointestinal dysfunction, autonomic dysfunction, anxiety, depression, and cognitive decline. Mouse behavioral tests exist for all of these symptoms and while some models have begun to be reassessed for the prevalence of this broader behavioral phenotype, the majority has not. Moreover, all behavioral paradigms should be tested for their responsiveness to L-DOPA so these data can be compared to patient response and help elucidate which symptoms are likely not dopamine-mediated. Here, we suggest an extensive, yet feasible, battery of behavioral tests for mouse models of PD aimed to better assess both non-motor and motor deficits associated with the disease.
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