Animal models of major depression and their clinical implications

Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2016 Jan 4;64:293-310. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2015.04.004. Epub 2015 Apr 17.

Abstract

Major depressive disorder is a common, complex, and potentially life-threatening mental disorder that imposes a severe social and economic burden worldwide. Over the years, numerous animal models have been established to elucidate pathophysiology that underlies depression and to test novel antidepressant treatment strategies. Despite these substantial efforts, the animal models available currently are of limited utility for these purposes, probably because none of the models mimics this complex disorder fully. It is presumable that psychiatric illnesses, such as affective disorders, are related to the complexity of the human brain. Here, we summarize the animal models that are used most commonly for depression, and discuss their advantages and limitations. We discuss genetic models, including the recently developed optogenetic tools and the stress models, such as the social stress, chronic mild stress, learned helplessness, and early-life stress paradigms. Moreover, we summarize briefly the olfactory bulbectomy model, as well as models that are based on pharmacological manipulations and disruption of the circadian rhythm. Finally, we highlight common misinterpretations and often-neglected important issues in this field.

Keywords: Animal model; CMS; Chronic stress; Depression; Mood disorder.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Depressive Disorder / genetics
  • Depressive Disorder / physiopathology*
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Humans