Non-Human Primate Models in Neuroscience Research

  • G Perretta Institute of Neurobiology and Molecular Medicine-CNR, Rome


Neuroscience is progressively increasing its comprehension of the normal functioning of the central and  peripheral nervous system. Such understanding is essential to challenge important neurodegenerative disorders  and clinical conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, etc. The  aim of neuroscience research is to improve understanding of normal and pathological functions and to  develop therapeutic strategies and tools. Fundamental neuroscience utilizes a variety of techniques which  include: electrophysiology, imaging, and computational modelling and entails interactions with clinical  studies. Non-human primates are the closest species to humans in terms of biological, physiological, immunological  and neurological characteristics; their closeness has been, and is still, an important reason for  using them in biomedical studies. These animals have a vertebrate brain that is most like that of humans  in terms of neural circuitry and this, together with similarities with human physiological and behavioural  characteristics, makes them more valuable and accurate models of neurological and psychiatric diseases  than other animals. This article provides an overview of the contribution of non-human primate models in  fundamental neuroscience research and in generating clinically relevant findings and therapeutic developments.