Depression‐Related Behavioral Tests

Timothy R. Powell1, Cathy Fernandes1, Leonard C. Schalkwyk1

1 Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, King's College London, London, United Kingdom
Publication Name:  Current Protocols in Mouse Biology
Unit Number:   
DOI:  10.1002/9780470942390.mo110176
Online Posting Date:  June, 2012
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Overlapping characteristics between human depressive phenotypes and mouse behaviors has led to the creation of mouse models that aim to investigate the pathophysiology and treatment of unipolar depression. Behavioral tests in mice are used to assess and quantify the extent to which a mouse model displays a depression‐like phenotype. The forced swim test and tail suspension test, sucrose preference test, and novelty suppressed feeding tests all aim to measure different components of depression. However, each one of these tests has different strengths and weaknesses in terms of predictive, face and construct validities. Furthermore, the responses to these tests vary greatly depending on strain of mouse. Depression‐related behavioral tests are an extremely useful investigative tool in unearthing causes and predicting treatment outcomes in human depression, but as this review demonstrates, the comprehension of the finer details are extremely important in the design, analysis, and evaluation of such mouse studies. Curr. Protoc. Mouse Biol. 2:119‐127 © 2012 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Keywords: depression; forced swim test; tail suspension test; novelty suppressed feeding; strain effect

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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • The Concept of Validity
  • The Forced Swim Test (FST)
  • Tail Suspension Test (TST)
  • Sucrose Preference Test (SPT)
  • Novelty‐Suppressed Feeding (NSF)
  • Test Batteries
  • Manual Versus Automated Measurement of FST and TST
  • Survival Analysis of Latency Measures
  • Conclusion
  • Literature Cited
  • Tables
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Literature Cited

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