Utilization of Diurnal Rodents in the Research of Depression

Carmel Bilu, Haim Einat, Noga Kronfeld-Schor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


(Table presented.). Most neuropsychiatric research, including that related to the circadian system, is performed using nocturnal animals, mainly laboratory mice and rats. Mood disorders are known to be associated with circadian rhythm abnormalities, but the mechanisms by which circadian rhythm disruptions interact with depression remain unclear. As the circadian system of diurnal and nocturnal mammals differs, we previously suggested that the utilization of diurnal animal models may be advantageous for understanding these relations. During the last 10 years, we and others established the validity of several diurnal rodent species as a model for the interactions between circadian rhythms and depression. Diurnal rodents respond to photoperiod manipulation in a similar way to humans, the behavioral outcome is directly related to the circadian system, and treatment that is effective in patients is also effective in the model. Moreover, less effective treatments in patients are also less effective in the model. We, therefore, suggest that using diurnal animal models to study circadian rhythms-related affective disorders, such as depression, will provide new insights that will hopefully lead to the development of more effective treatments. Drug Dev Res 77 : 347–356, 2016.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)336-345
Number of pages10
JournalDrug Development Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2016


  • affective disorders
  • circadian rhythms
  • depression
  • diurnal animal models
  • sand rats
  • seasonal affective disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Drug Discovery


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