Animal models of Parkinson's disease: bridging the gap between disease hallmarks and research questions

Transl Neurodegener. 2023 Jul 19;12(1):36. doi: 10.1186/s40035-023-00368-8.


Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by motor and non-motor symptoms. More than 200 years after its first clinical description, PD remains a serious affliction that affects a growing proportion of the population. Prevailing treatments only alleviate symptoms; there is still neither a cure that targets the neurodegenerative processes nor therapies that modify the course of the disease. Over the past decades, several animal models have been developed to study PD. Although no model precisely recapitulates the pathology, they still provide valuable information that contributes to our understanding of the disease and the limitations of our treatment options. This review comprehensively summarizes the different animal models available for Parkinson's research, with a focus on those induced by drugs, neurotoxins, pesticides, genetic alterations, α-synuclein inoculation, and viral vector injections. We highlight their characteristics and ability to reproduce PD-like phenotypes. It is essential to realize that the strengths and weaknesses of each model and the induction technique at our disposal are determined by the research question being asked. Our review, therefore, seeks to better aid researchers by ensuring a concrete discernment of classical and novel animal models in PD research.

Keywords: Alpha-synuclein; Animal model; Mouse; Parkinson’s disease; Preformed fibril; Transgenic model.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Mutation
  • Neurotoxins
  • Parkinson Disease* / genetics
  • Parkinson Disease* / pathology
  • Parkinson Disease* / therapy


  • Neurotoxins