Pre-clinical models of neurodevelopmental disorders: Focus on the cerebellum

Alexey V. Shevelkin, Chinezimuzo Ihenatu, Mikhail V. Pletnikov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Recent studies have advanced our understanding of the role of the cerebellum in non-motor behaviors. Abnormalities in the cerebellar structure have been demonstrated to produce changes in emotional, cognitive, and social behaviors resembling clinical manifestations observed in patients with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and schizophrenia. Several animal models have been used to evaluate the effects of relevant environmental and genetic risk factors on the cerebellum development and function. However, very few models of ASD and schizophrenia selectively target the cerebellum and/or specific cell types within this structure. In this review, we critically evaluate the strength and weaknesses of these models. We will propose that the future progress in this field will require time- and cell type-specific manipulations of disease-relevant genes, not only selectively in the cerebellum, but also in frontal brain areas connected with the cerebellum. Such information can advance our knowledge of the cerebellar contribution to non-motor behaviors in mental health and disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-194
Number of pages18
JournalReviews in the Neurosciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Animal model
  • Autism
  • Cerebellum
  • Purkinje cells
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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