Major Depression and Animals Models

Ma Li Wong

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Animal models have been helpful to facilitate understanding of the pathophysiology of human diseases and development of relevant new therapies. In this chapter we will discuss scientific and ethical issues relevant to the use of animal models which were developed in order to understand a common complex disorder such as depression. How can an animal model for major depression be developed when this condition is considered to be the quintessential human disorder? Depression affects sophisticated cognitive functions that are thought to be fundamentally human and which we maintain as absent in animals. Manifestations of major depression include decreased self-esteem, negativism, suicidality, and depression. Therefore, animal models can only reproduce some features of depression; furthermore, there is no unanimously accepted paradigm. Advances in genetics have already greatly improved our ability to understand human diseases. Genetically modified mice have facilitated and accelerated our capacity to model several human diseases. The characterization of behavioral phenotypes in genetically modified mice, generated by genetic engineering (such as knockout, knockdown, point mutation, random mutation or transgenic technologies) is expected to revolutionize our ability to model and to understand key features of common complex diseases.

Title of host publicationBiology of Depression
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Novel Insights to Therapeutic Strategies
PublisherJohn Wiley and Sons
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)3527307850, 9783527307852
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jan 2008


  • Ability
  • Ethical issues
  • Functions
  • Models
  • Separation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)

Cite this

Wong, M. L. (2008). Major Depression and Animals Models. In Biology of Depression: From Novel Insights to Therapeutic Strategies (pp. 669-688). John Wiley and Sons.