The Future Role of In vivo Electrophysiology in Preclinical Drug Discovery

Marcia H Ratner

EC Pharmacology and Toxicology

EC Pharmacol Toxicol 2016 Sept 2(2):108-109.

Although a mainstay of preclinical drug discovery, the translational value of animal behavioral models of neurodegenerative diseases and psychiatric disorders remains controversial. Thus, there is an unmet need for better animal models. In vivo electrophysiology permits the measurement of drug-induced changes in neural network activity while providing the investigator with objective biomarkers of neurological function which can be used to increase the translational value of behavioral observations made with preclinical animal models. This powerful method, which can be used in freely behaving animals, typically employs microelectrode arrays, which in turn allow investigators to simultaneously record single unit activity and local field potentials (LFPs) from multiple cells in multiple brain regions. Recordings can also be made from specific brain regions implicated in disease. For example, drug-induced changes in both single unit activity and LFPs in the CA3 and CA1 subregions of the hippocampus are potential biomarkers of drug effects on spatial learning and memory function implicated in animal models of prodromal Alzheimer’s disease. This translational preclinical method is also well suited for target-based as well as repurposing studies.
September 2016
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