Current animal models of anxiety, anxiety disorders, and anxiolytic drugs

Jozsef Haller, Mano Alicki

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

58 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose of Review: The perception that 'classical' anxiety tests are deficient was formulated in the mid-1990s. Recent clinical trials also demonstrate that the predictive power of such tests is low, which emphasizes the need for developing models of higher translational value. Several novel models are proposed each year. Here, we investigate their impact on anxiolytic-related studies performed in 2010 and 2011. Recent Findings: Here, we depict as 'classical' all the tests that were developed at the same time as or earlier than the elevated plus-maze test. No test equaled its success in the subsequent decades; therefore, we consider it the endpoint of the period when the methodological bases of current laboratory research were laid down. Fourteen classical tests were employed in the investigated period, which were used in more than 80% of studies. Concurrently, 36 'nonclassical' tests were used and six novel tests were also proposed. These accounted for fewer than 20% of studies. 'Classical' tests were often performed under unconventional conditions that putatively increased their translational value. Taken together, half of the studies involved at least one innovative step. Yet, the new procedures were infrequently used. Out of the 36 'nonclassical' tests, only 11 were used more than once, while the amendments to 'classical tests' were almost entirely laboratory specific. Summary: Our analysis shows that there is a large interest in performing anxiety research innovatively. However, efforts are highly divergent and result in large numbers of poorly validated and infrequently used novel approaches. Thus, models with increased translational value still need to be developed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-64
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2012


  • anxiety
  • anxiolytic
  • clinical
  • model
  • preclinical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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