Animal models in epilepsy research: legacies and new directions

Nat Neurosci. 2015 Mar;18(3):339-43. doi: 10.1038/nn.3934. Epub 2015 Feb 24.


Human epilepsies encompass a wide variety of clinical, behavioral and electrical manifestations. Correspondingly, studies of this disease in nonhuman animals have brought forward an equally wide array of animal models; that is, species and acute or chronic seizure induction protocols. Epilepsy research has a long history of comparative anatomical and physiological studies on a range of mostly mammalian species. Nonetheless, a relatively limited number of rodent models have emerged as the primary choices for most investigations. In many cases, these animal models are selected on the basis of convenience or tradition, although technical or experimental rationale does, and should, factor into these decisions. More complex mammalian brains and genetic model organisms including zebrafish have been studied less, but offer substantial advantages that are becoming widely recognized.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomedical Research / history*
  • Biomedical Research / trends*
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Epilepsy / etiology
  • Epilepsy / therapy*
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans