Depressive-like domain

Forced swim test – This test is used both as a screening test for the effect of antidepressants to increase mobility, and as a learned helplessness measure of depressive like features. The animal is placed in a water-filled, transparent, round plexiglass tank. For the duration of the 6 minute test period, the time spent by the animal in activity (active swimming) versus immobility (passive floating) is tracked and recorded, as well as frequency and duration of activity/ inactivity bouts.

[This test is applicable to rats and mice]

Reference:

Lucki I, Dalvi A, Mayorga AJ (2001) Sensitivity to the effects of pharmacologically selective antidepressants in different strains of mice. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 155(3):315-322


Saccharin preference test – This test models the depressive symptom of anhedonia (lack of pleasure). Non-preference for sweetened water is conceptualized as anhedonia. In the habituation phase, animals are group housed and receive fluids from two bottles, one containing water and the other 2% saccharin solution in water. In the 2 day test period, animals are individually housed and have a choice between two weighted bottles as above. After the test, the two bottles for each animal are weighed again and saccharin preference is calculated as percentage of saccharin consumed out total fluids consumed.

[This test is applicable to rats and mice]

Reference:

Gibney SM, McGuinness B, Prendergast C, Harkin A, Connor TJ (2012) Poly I:C-induced activation of the immune response is accompanied by depression and anxiety-like behaviours, kynurenine pathway activation and reduced bdnf expression. Brain Behav Immun 28:170-181


Novelty suppressed feeding test- This test models the depressive symptom of anhedonia (lack of pleasure). Long latency of a food deprived animal to eat a pellet of food is a measure of an anhedonic depression like phenotype.  Animals are first food (but not water) deprived for 24 hours. Thereafter each is introduced into an open field arena in which a food pellet is situated in the center. The time elapsed from the animal’s introduction until eating commences (latency to eat) is tracked and recorded. Concomitantly, the distance moved by the animal is tracked. After testing home cage food consumption is monitored for 10 minutes.

[This test is applicable to rats and mice]

Reference:

David DJ, Klemenhagen KC, Holick KA, Saxe MD, Mendez I, Santarelli L, Craig DA, Zhong H, Swanson CJ, Hegde LG, Ping XI, Dong D, Marzabadi MR, Gerald CP, Hen R (2007) Efficacy of the Mchr1 Antagonist N-[3-(1-{[4-(3,4-Difluorophenoxy)Phenyl]Methyl}(4-Piperidyl))-4-Methylphenyl]-2-M Ethylpropanamide (Snap 94847) in mouse models of anxiety and depression following acute and chronic administration is independent of hippocampal neurogenesis. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 321(1):237-248


Tail suspension test – This test is used both as a screening test for the activity of antidepressant to increase mobiity and as a learned helplessness measure of depressive like features. The animal is hung upside down by its tail tip (using adhesive tape) 50 cm from nearest surface ,and during a 6 minute test duration the time spent in active escape attempts is tracked and recorded (similarly to the forced swim test) versus time spent in inactivity. Also, frequency and duration of activity bouts are recorded.

[This test is applicable for mice only]

Reference:

Machado DG, Kaster MP, Binfare RW, Dias M, Santos AR, Pizzolatti MG, Brighente IM, Rodrigues AL (2007) Antidepressant-like effect of the extract from leaves of schinus molle l. in mice: Evidence for the involvement of the monoaminergic system. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry 31(2):421-428