Screening of antipsychotic drugs in animal models

Ina Weiner, Inna Gaisler, Daniela Schiller, Amit Green, Lee Zuckerman, Daphna Joel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Behavioral models of antipsychotic drug (APD) action in the rat are widely used for the screening and developing APDs. Valid models are not only required to be selective and specific for APDs, but also to be able to dissociate between typical and atypical APDs. In recent years, newer models have been developed that are claimed to model processes impaired in schizophrenic patients. However, these models depend on previous administration of propsychotic drugs for revealing the effects of APDs, raising the possibility that the 'model' of APD action is not the specific behavior assessed but the administration of the propsychotic drug. A valid behavioral model of APD action should posses the following characteristics: 1) The behavior assessed in the model has relevance to the clinical condition; 2) The behavioral paradigm used to index the action of APDs can be used in rats and humans. 3) The model is selective and specific to APDs differing in their in vitro and in vivo pharmacology. 4) The model can dissociate between typical and atypical APDs. and 5) The model does not require previous pharmacological manipulations to manifest the behavioral index of antipsychotic activity. In this overview, data are summarized showing that the latent inhibition (LI) model of APD action, which measures a cognitive process known to be impaired in schizophrenia, namely, the ability to ignore stimuli that had been inconsequential in the past, fulfills all of the above criteria. The utility of the LI model can be further extended when it is combined with the forced swim test (FST) model, which is sensitive to the antidepressant-like activity of the atypical APDs, such that the combined LI-FST model can dissociate between typical APDs, atypical APDs, and antidepressants. Finally, the use of the LI model alone or in combination with FST in rats that sustain lesions or other physiological manipulations (e.g., stimulation) to specific brain regions may provide clues as to the relationship between the effects of these drugs and the site of brain damage, and possibly reveal differential effects of typical and atypical APDs, depending on the site of the damage. (C) 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-249
Number of pages15
JournalDrug Development Research
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Animal model
  • Antipsychotic drugs
  • Forced swim test
  • Latent inhibition
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Drug Discovery


Dive into the research topics of 'Screening of antipsychotic drugs in animal models'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this