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Behav Genet. 2007 Jan;37(1):171-213. Epub 2006 Sep 23.

Feeling strained? Influence of genetic background on depression-related behavior in mice: a review.

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Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, Novartis Pharma AG, CH-4002, Basel, Switzerland.


Depression is a growing pandemic in developed societies. The use of inbred mouse strains in pre-clinical psychiatric research has proven to be a valuable resource. Firstly, they provide the background for genetic manipulations that aid in the discovery of molecular pathways that may be involved in major depression. Further, inbred mouse strains are also being used in the determination of genetic and environmental influences that may pre-dispose or trigger depression-related behavior. This review aims to highlight the utility of inbred mouse strains in depression research, while providing an overview of the current state of research into behavioral differences between strains in paradigms commonly used in the field. Neurochemical differences that may underlie strain differences are examined, and some caveats and cautions associated with the use of inbred strains are highlighted.

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