Animal Models: An Overview

  • Noriyuki KoibuchiEmail author
Living reference work entry


Animal studies are indispensable for studying the organization, structure, and function of specific organs and their integrative functions including those of the cerebellum. Animal studies are classified into several categories. First, they are used to clarify the mechanisms that induce specific anatomical, physiological, or behavioral phenotypes (phenotype-oriented). Second, they can be designed to analyze the roles of specific endogenous molecules/genes/proteins in cellular, organ, and behavioral functions (molecule-oriented). Third, they are used to examine the effects of exogenous chemicals (xenobiotics), such as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and industrial and environmental chemicals. Lastly, animal models that mimic human diseases can be used to better understand the pathophysiology of these diseases. Recent developments in molecular biology have enabled to generate a large number of gene-modified animals for such purposes. Such animal models have contributed greatly to increase knowledge of gene–phenotype and gene–disease interactions. However, it is clear that multiple genes are often involved in morphological, physiological, and behavioral phenotypes; as such, many neurological disorders are caused by polygenic abnormalities. Thus, studying naturally occurring mutant animals, and injury- or drug-induced animal models, remains very important. Owing to the large numbers that have been reported, it is beyond the scope of this chapter to discuss all the existing animal models for cerebellar research. Thus, this chapter primarily discusses representative naturally occurring mutant animal models that are used to study cerebellar functions and diseases. Before providing detailed descriptions of each animal model, general concepts, and classifications of animal models used for cerebellar research are introduced.


C. Elegans Drosophila Fish Amphibian Reptile Chick Rat Mouse Rabbit Cat Primate 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Integrative PhysiologyGunma University Graduate School of MedicineMaebashiJapan

Section editors and affiliations

  • Noriyuki Koibuchi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Integrative PhysiologyGunma University Graduate School of MedicineMaebashiJapan

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