Journal article

Use of viral vectors to create animal models for Parkinson's disease

Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the progressive loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra. While sporadic in the majority of cases, PD-linked dominant mutations in the α-synuclein and LRRK-2 genes, and recessive mutations in the parkin, DJ-1 and PINK-1 genes have been identified in PD families in recent years. In this review we describe viral animal models for PD, i.e. models that are based on PD-associated mutations, and have been generated by viral delivery of the respective disease genes to the substantia nigra of rodents and non-human primates. To date, viral PD models comprise α-synuclein and LRRK-2-based overexpression models, as well as models that mimic parkin loss of function by overexpression of the parkin substrates Pael-R, CDCrel-1, p38/JTV or synphilin-1. These viral models provide valuable insights into Parkinson disease mechanisms, help to identify therapeutic targets and may contribute to the development of therapeutic approaches.


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