Psychosis represents a set of symptoms against which current available treatments are not universally effective and are often accompanied by adverse side effects. Clinical management could potentially be improved with a greater understanding of the underlying biology and subsequently with the introduction of novel treatments. Since many clinical drug candidates are identified through in vivo modelling, a deeper understanding of the pre-clinical field, might help us understand why translation of results from animal models to inform mental health clinical practice has so far been weak. We set out to give a shallow, but broad unbiased overview of experiments looking at the in vivo modelling of psychotic disorders using a systematic review and meta-analysis. This protocol describes the exact methodology we propose to follow in order to quantitatively review both studies characterizing a model and those experiments that investigate the effects of novel therapeutic options. We are interested in assessing the prevalence of the reporting of measures to reduce risk of bias, and the internal and external validity of the animal models and outcome measures used to validate these models. This generation of strong empirical evidence has the potential to identify areas for improvement, make suggestions for future research avenues, and ultimately inform what we think we know to improve the current attrition rate between bench and bedside in psychosis research. A review like this will also support the reduction of animal numbers used in research and the refinement of experiments to maximize their value in informing the field.
Keywords: animal models; meta‐analysis; protocol; psychosis; systematic review.