Consideration of species differences in developing novel molecules as cognition enhancers

Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2013 Nov;37(9 Pt B):2181-93. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2012.10.002. Epub 2012 Oct 12.


The NIH-funded CNTRICS initiative has coordinated efforts to promote the vertical translation of novel procognitive molecules from testing in mice, rats and non-human primates, to clinical efficacy in patients with schizophrenia. CNTRICS highlighted improving construct validation of tasks across species to increase the likelihood that the translation of a candidate molecule to humans will be successful. Other aspects of cross-species behaviors remain important however. This review describes cognitive tasks utilized across species, providing examples of differences and similarities of innate behavior between species, as well as convergent construct and predictive validity. Tests of attention, olfactory discrimination, reversal learning, and paired associate learning are discussed. Moreover, information on the practical implication of species differences in drug development research is also provided. The issues covered here will aid in task development and utilization across species as well as reinforcing the positive role preclinical research can have in developing procognitive treatments for psychiatric disorders.

Keywords: Attention; CNTRICS; Cognitive; Differences; Human primates; Impulsivity; Mice; Monkeys; Non-human primates; Rats; Reversal learning; Species.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Association Learning / drug effects
  • Cognition Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Humans
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Schizophrenia / complications
  • Species Specificity
  • Translational Medical Research*