Translational neuropharmacology and the appropriate and effective use of animal models

Br J Pharmacol. 2011 Oct;164(4):1041-3. doi: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01361.x.


This issue of the British Journal of Pharmacology is dedicated to reviews of the major animal models used in neuropharmacology to examine drugs for both neurological and psychiatric conditions. Almost all major conditions are reviewed. In general, regulatory authorities require evidence for the efficacy of novel compounds in appropriate animal models. However, the failure of many compounds in clinical trials following clear demonstration of efficacy in animal models has called into question both the value of the models and the discovery process in general. These matters are expertly reviewed in this issue and proposals for better models outlined. In this editorial, we further suggest that more attention be made to incorporate pharmacokinetic knowledge into the studies (quantitative pharmacology). We also suggest that more attention be made to ensure that full methodological details are published and recommend that journals should be more amenable to publishing negative data. Finally, we propose that new approaches must be used in drug discovery so that preclinical studies become more reflective of the clinical situation, and studies using animal models mimic the anticipated design of studies to be performed in humans, as closely as possible.

Publication types

  • Editorial

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Drug Design*
  • Drug Discovery / methods
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Humans
  • Neuropharmacology*
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Translational Research, Biomedical*