Open‐Space Forced Swim Model of Depression for Mice

Eric A. Stone1, Yan Lin1

1 Department of Psychiatry, New York University Langone School of Medicine, New York, New York
Publication Name:  Current Protocols in Neuroscience
Unit Number:  Unit 9.36
DOI:  10.1002/0471142301.ns0936s54
Online Posting Date:  January, 2011
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This protocol describes a simplified method for inducing a chronic depression‐like state in mice that is based on the repeated open‐space forced swim method originally developed for rats. The method consists of mice swimming daily in lukewarm water in rat tub cages, for 15  min/day for 4 days, and thereafter once per week. This procedure produces a progressive decrease in distance swum and a concomitant increase in immobility (floating) in ∼70% of the mice, both of which persist unaltered for weeks. The model has predictive, face, and construct validity and has a number of advantages over previous methods in that it utilizes very mild stress, is short in duration, and is easily standardized. Moreover, since it utilizes a greater swimming area than the traditional (Porsolt) method it can be used to study interactions of depressive behavior with behavioral flexibility and perseveration. Curr. Protoc. Neurosci. 54:9.36.1‐9.36.8. © 2011 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Keywords: depression; open space; forced swim; model; mouse; immobility

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Table of Contents

  • Commentary
  • Literature Cited
  • Figures
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Basic Protocol 1:

  • Mice (Swiss Webster males)
  • Drugs to be tested
  • Isoflurane
  • Standard mouse cages with nesting material
  • Rat tub cages (24 × 43 × 23 cm) with no holes in the wall, placed on a surface of a color contrasting with that of the mouse fur
  • Sink
  • Thermometer
  • 12‐cm high inverted flower pot, optional
  • Video camera mounted above tub cages
  • Hand tally counter or video tracking system (Fisher Scientific; Flash)
  • Lever‐activated mechanical stop clock (e.g., The Science Fair)
  • Osmotic minipumps (Alzet, cat. no. 1002)
  • Isoflurane and anesthesia mask
  • Surgical equipment for subcutaneous implantation
  • Non‐linear regression software such as Prism (see unit 7.5)
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Literature Cited

Literature Cited
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