Animal Models of Epilepsy: Legacies and New Directions


Human epilepsies encompass a wide variety of clinical, behavioral and electrical manifestations. Correspondingly, studies of this disease in nonhuman animals have brought forward an equally wide array of animal models, i.e. species and acute or chronic seizure induction protocols. Epilepsy research has a long history of comparative anatomical and physiological studies on a range of mostly mammalian species. Nonetheless, a relatively limited number of rodent models emerged as the primary choices for most epilepsy-related investigations. In many cases these animal models are selected based on convenience or tradition, though technical or experimental rationale does, and should, factor into these decisions. More complex mammalian brains and, especially, genetic model organisms including zebrafish have been studied less but offer significant advantages that are being widely recognized.

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