Affective preclinical modeling of psychiatric disorders: Taking imbalanced primal emotional feelings of animals seriously in our search for novel antidepressants

Preclinical animal models of psychiatric disorders are of critical importance for advances in development of new psychiatric medicine. Regrettably, behavior-only models have yielded no novel targeted treatments during the past half-century of vigorous deployment. This may reflect the general neglect of experiential aspects of animal emotions, since affective mental states of animals supposedly cannot be empirically monitored. This supposition is wrong-to the extent that the rewarding and punishing aspects of emotion circuit arousals reflect positive and negative affective states. During the past decade, the use of such affective neurosciencebased animal modeling has yielded three novel antidepressants (i) via the alleviation of psychic pain with low doses of buprenorphine; (ii) via the amplification of enthusiasm by direct stimulation of the medial forebrain bundle); and (iii) via the facilitation of the capacity for social joy with play facilitators such as rapastinel (GLYX- 13). All have progressed to successful human testing. For optimal progress, it may be useful for preclinical investigators to focus on the evolved affective foundations of psychiatrically relevant brain emotional disorders for optimal animal modeling. © 2015, AICH – Servier Research Group.

Preclinical animal models of psychiatric disorders are of critical importance for advances in development of new psychiatric medicine. Regrettably, behavior-only models have yielded no novel targeted treatments during the past half-century of vigorous deployment. This may reflect the general neglect of experiential aspects of animal emotions, since affective mental states of animals supposedly cannot be empirically monitored. This supposition is wrong-to the extent that the rewarding and punishing aspects of emotion circuit arousals reflect positive and negative affective states. During the past decade, the use of such affective neurosciencebased animal modeling has yielded three novel antidepressants (i) via the alleviation of psychic pain with low doses of buprenorphine; (ii) via the amplification of enthusiasm by direct stimulation of the medial forebrain bundle); and (iii) via the facilitation of the capacity for social joy with play facilitators such as rapastinel (GLYX- 13). All have progressed to successful human testing. For optimal progress, it may be useful for preclinical investigators to focus on the evolved affective foundations of psychiatrically relevant brain emotional disorders for optimal animal modeling. © 2015, AICH – Servier Research Group.

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