Experimental Models of Anxiety for Drug Discovery and Brain Research

Animal models have been vital to recent advances in experimental neuroscience, including the modeling of common human brain disorders such as anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia. As mice express robust anxiety-like behaviors when exposed to stressors (e.g., novelty, bright light, or social confrontation), these phenotypes have clear utility in testing the effects of psychotropic drugs. Of specific interest is the extent to which mouse models can be used for the screening of new anxiolytic drugs and verification of their possible applications in humans. To address this problem, the present chapter will review different experimental models of mouse anxiety and discuss their utility for testing anxiolytic and anxiogenic drugs. Detailed protocols will be provided for these paradigms, and possible confounds will be addressed accordingly.