Social defeat

This test aims to evaluate the behavioral and biological consequences of chronic social stress- exposure to a dominant adversary.  An aggressive retired breeder male is introduced into cages of test animals (housed 3 per cage) for six consecutive days (2 hours session each). During each session, submissive behavior of resident animals (upright posture, fleeing and crouching) is observed. If the aggressive intruder does not initiate defeat of the resident animal within 10 minutes or is defeated by any of the resident animals, the intruder is removed. Different intruders are used each day.

[This model is implemented in rats and mice]

 Microsoft Word - 3.docx

Reproduced with permission from Elsevier

Haque et al, 2012: Effects of schronic social defeat protocol on forced swim test and sucrose preference test in wildtype mice and two lines of Disc1 mutant mice. In all strain, exposure to the chronic social defeat stress caused an increase in immobility in the forced swim test (a) and a decrease in sucrose preference (b).


Haque FN, Lipina TV, Roder JC, Wong AH (2012) social defeat interacts with disc1 mutations in the mouse to affect behavior. Behav Brain Res 233(2):337-344

Wohleb ES, McKim DB, Shea DT, Powell ND, Tarr AJ, Sheridan JF, Godbout JP (2014) Re-establishment of anxiety in stress-sensitized mice is caused by monocyte trafficking from the spleen to the brain. Biol Psychiatry