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Methods Mol Biol. 2012;829:125-44. doi: 10.1007/978-1-61779-458-2_7.

Modeling depression in animal models.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Center for Alcohol Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.


Animal models and preclinical tests have played large roles in the development of antidepressant drugs and are likely to continue to play important roles. In the present communication, the main animal models of depression have been described and reviewed. These models include the Flinders sensitive line (FSL) rat, the Wistar Kyoto (WKY) rat, the fawn-hooded (FH) rat, and the learned helpless (LH) rat. In addition, the materials used to assess the behavior of these rats, including swim tanks, drinking tubes, and an open field apparatus, have been discussed. Finally, the methods used in collecting the relevant behaviors in the animal models are described. These include the procedures used in the forced swim test and chronic mild stress protocols, including the sucrose preference test. It is concluded that the behavioral tests used to infer depressed-like behavior in rats will continue to provide useful data if the appropriate animals and proper methods are used.

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