Studying Parkinson Animal Models

Parkinson disease (PD) is a chronic and progressive movement disorder, which affects approximately seven million people worldwide. It is characterized by the death of dopaminergic neurons in an area of the brain called the substantia nigra. As PD progresses, the loss of dopamine results in changes of numerous brain pathways that are responsible for the normal control of movement. Current treatments for PD include oral medications (chiefly levodopa) and surgical interventions. Although these treatments alleviate motor impairments, adverse side effects are also common. Animal studies are a useful tool to understand the biology of Parkinson Disease and give researchers the opportunity to better characterize the symptoms in a controlled environment at the molecular level.