Forced swim stressor: Trends in usage and mechanistic consideration.
ABSTRACT: The acquired immobility response during the "forced swim test (FST)" is not a rodent model of depression, but the test has some validity in predicting a compound's antidepressant potential. Nevertheless, 60% of the about 600 papers that were published annually the past 2 years label the rodent's immobility response as depression-like behaviour, but the relative contribution per country is changing. When the Editors-in-Chief of 5 journals publishing most FST papers were asked for their point of view on labelling immobility as depression-like behaviour and despair, they responded that they primarily rely on the reviewers regarding scientific merit of the submission. One Editor informs authors of the recent NIMH notice (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-MH-19-053.html) which encourages investigators to use animal models "for" addressing neurobiological questions rather than as model "of" specific mental disorders. The neurobiological questions raised by use of the FST fall in two categories. First, research on the role of endocrine and metabolic factors, with roots in the 1980s, and with focus on the bottom-up action of glucocorticoids on circuits processing salient information, executive control and memory consolidation. Second, recent findings using novel technological and computational advances that have allowed great progress in charting top-down control in the switch from active to passive coping with the inescapable stressor executed by neuronal ensembles of the medial prefrontal cortex via the peri-aquaductal grey. It is expected that combining neural top-down and endocrine bottom-up approaches will provide new insights in the role of stress-coping and adaptation in pathogenesis of mental disorders.
Project description:The endocannabinoid system is involved in the regulation of the stress response, but the relative contribution of N-arachidonoylethanolamine (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) and their mechanisms have to be elucidated. In this study, we compared the effects of the pharmacological inhibition of the two major endocannabinoid-degrading enzymes [fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL) for AEA and 2-AG, respectively] on stress-coping [forced swim test (FST) and tail suspension test (TST)] and anxiety-like [elevated-plus maze (EPM) and light-dark test (LDT)] behaviors in wild-type and FAAH knockout mice. <i>In vivo</i> microdialysis estimated the effects of FAAH and MAGL inhibition on dopamine (DA) and serotonin (5-HT) levels in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) during an FST. Mice were treated with PF-3845 (FAAH inhibitor), JZL184 (MAGL inhibitor), JZL195 (dual FAAH/MAGL inhibitor) or vehicle. Our data showed that PF-3845 increased latency to immobility and decreased total immobility time in FST, but no effects were observed in TST compared with vehicle-treated wild-type mice. By contrast, JZL184 decreased latency and increased immobility in TST and FST. JZL195 in wild-type mice and JZL184 in FAAH knockout mice reproduced the same passive coping behaviors as JZL184 in wild-type mice in TST and FST. In the microdialysis experiment, FST was associated with increased DA and 5-HT levels in the mPFC. However, JZL184-treated wild-type mice displayed a significant attenuation of forced swim stress-induced DA release compared with vehicle-treated wild-type mice and PF-3845-treated wild-type mice. Finally, FAAH and/or MAGL inhibitors induced robust and consistent anxiolytic-like effects in EPM and LDT. These results suggested differences between FAAH and MAGL inhibition in stress-coping behaviors. Notably, MAGL inhibition induced a consistent avoidant coping behavior and attenuated the stress-induced mPFC DA response in FST. However, more investigation is needed to elucidate the functional association between DA and 2-AG signaling pathways, and the molecular mechanism in the regulation of passive coping strategies during inescapable stress.
Project description:Every organism inevitably experiences stress. In the face of acute, intense stress, for example, periods of passivity occur when an organism's actions fail to overcome the challenge. The occurrence of inactive behavior may indicate that struggling would most likely be fruitless. Repeated serious stress has been associated with mood disorders such as depression. The modulation of passive coping response patterns has been explored with a focus on the circuit level. However, the cellular and molecular mechanisms are largely uncharacterized. Here, we report that lactate is a key factor in the astrocytic modulation of the passive coping response to behavioral challenge in adult mice. We found increased extracellular lactate in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) when mice experienced the forced swimming test (FST). Furthermore, we discovered that disturbing astrocytic glycogenolysis, which is a key step for lactate production in the mPFC, decreased the duration of immobility in the FST. Knocking down monocarboxylate transporter 4 (MCT4), which is expressed exclusively in astrocytes and transports lactate from astrocytes to the extracellular space, caused similar results in the FST. The behavioral effect of both the pharmacological disturbance of astrocytic glycogenolysis and viral disruption of MCT4 expression was rescued via the administration of L-lactate. Moreover, we found that both pharmacological and viral modulation of astrocyte-derived lactate in mPFC slices increased the excitability of layer V pyramidal neurons, and this enhancement was reversed by exogenous L-lactate administration. These results highlight astrocyte-derived lactate as a biological mechanism underlying the passive coping response to behavioral challenge and may provide new strategies to prevent mood disorders.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>The interactive aggravation of pruritus and depression is well-known, but an appropriate experimental model that could mimic this behavioral phenomenon is still lacking. Thus, a systematic animal behavioral investigation was carried out in this study. This will promote the research and treatment of pruritus and depression.<h4>Methods</h4>The 2,4-dinitrofluorobenzene (DNFB)-induced chronic itch model was established to measure the depression index by forced swimming test (FST), tail suspension test (TST), and splash test (ST). The chronic unpredicted mild stress (CUMS)-induced depression model was established to measure spontaneous itch and acute histamine or chloroquine-induced itch behaviors. A depression and itch combining model was also established to measure the scratching and depression behaviors. The motor function of DNFB mice was analyzed by the rotarod test.<h4>Results</h4>The scratching number, the immobility time in the FST and TST, and the grooming number in the ST test were all significantly increased in the chronic itch model. Mice receiving CUMS treatment showed significantly increased spontaneous scratching number, immobility time in the FST and TST tests, and grooming number in the ST. The combined model showed increased immobility time in FST and TST tests and increased grooming number in ST comparing to the depression model, and showed increased scratching number comparing to the chronic itch model. After histamine (His) or chloroquine (CQ) injection, the scratching numbers of CUMS mice were all significantly increased compared to those of His- and CQ-control, respectively. Anti-depression drug ketamine could significantly inhibit the depression-like behaviors of CUMS mice, and simultaneously stopped the promoting effect on His-induced acute itch.<h4>Conclusions</h4>This study established an appropriate cross aggravation experimental mode and demonstrated that there is cross aggravation between pruritus and depression. The illumination of related mechanisms underlying this cross aggravation effect will provide theoretical basis for the prevention and treatment of depression and pruritus.
Project description:Current pharmacotherapies for depression exhibit slow onset, side effects and limited efficacy. Therefore, identification of novel fast-onset antidepressants is desirable. GLO1 is a ubiquitous cellular enzyme responsible for the detoxification of the glycolytic byproduct methylglyoxal (MG). We have previously shown that MG is a competitive partial agonist at GABA-A receptors. We examined the effects of genetic and pharmacological inhibition of GLO1 in two antidepressant assay models: the tail suspension test (TST) and the forced swim test (FST). We also examined the effects of GLO1 inhibition in three models of antidepressant onset: the chronic FST (cFST), chronic mild stress (CMS) paradigm and olfactory bulbectomy (OBX). Genetic knockdown of Glo1 or pharmacological inhibition using two structurally distinct GLO1 inhibitors (S-bromobenzylglutathione cyclopentyl diester (pBBG) or methyl-gerfelin (MeGFN)) reduced immobility in the TST and acute FST. Both GLO1 inhibitors also reduced immobility in the cFST after 5 days of treatment. In contrast, the serotonin reuptake inhibitor fluoxetine (FLX) reduced immobility after 14, but not 5 days of treatment. Furthermore, 5 days of treatment with either GLO1 inhibitor blocked the depression-like effects induced by CMS on the FST and coat state, and attenuated OBX-induced locomotor hyperactivity. Finally, 5 days of treatment with a GLO1 inhibitor (pBBG), but not FLX, induced molecular markers of the antidepressant response including brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) induction and increased phosphorylated cyclic-AMP response-binding protein (pCREB) to CREB ratio in the hippocampus and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). Our findings indicate that GLO1 inhibitors may provide a novel and fast-acting pharmacotherapy for depression.
Project description:Striatum may be involved in depressive disorders according to the neuroimaging analysis and clinical data. However, no animal model at present supported the possible role of striatum in the pathogenesis of depression. In the present study, we have investigated the depressive-like behavior in mice recently intoxicated with 3-nitropropionic acid (3-NP), a widely known toxin that selectively damages the striatum in the brain.Mouse model was made with subacute systemic 3-NP treatment, and the depressive-like behavior was measured using the duration of immobility during forced swimming test (FST).When the mice at day 15 post-intoxication just totally recovered from motor deficits, the duration of immobility in FST was significantly longer than that in controls. The depressive-like behavior was not due to the fatigue or general sickness following 3-NP intoxication and could be reversed by the antidepressant, desipramine hydrochloride. In two successive FST in 24 h interval, the depressive-like behavior could be observed again in subsequent FST (at day 16 post-intoxication), and the mice presented a normal "learned helplessness".A novel depression animal model could be established in mice during the initial period of recovery from 3-NP intoxication. The depression-like behavior might occur independently without involvement of cognitive defects, and the striatal lesions may underlie the depression-like behavior attributable to 3-NP intoxication.
Project description:Stress activates the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, leading to adrenocortical secretion of glucocorticoids. The magnitude and duration of the HPA axis response is mediated in large part by the glucocorticoid receptor (GR). The nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS) abundantly expresses the GR and is a key brain region for processing autonomic and endocrine stress responses. This study tests the hypothesis that GR within the NTS plays an important role in inhibiting stress-induced endocrine and behavioral responses. Cohorts of rats received bilateral micropellet (30 ?g) implantations of crystalline corticosterone, mifepristone (a GR antagonist) or cholesterol (control) directed into the region of the NTS, and were subsequently subjected to either acute psychogenic (restraint) stress or chronic variable stress (CVS). We found that NTS GR antagonism increased acute stress-induced corticosterone levels, whereas GR activation within the NTS attenuated this response. Following CVS, basal and 15 min post-restraint plasma corticosterone levels were increased by NTS GR antagonism, which was associated with an increase in Fos immunoreactivity within the PVN. Using the elevated plus maze (EPM) and forced swim test (FST), we assessed the effect of NTS GR inhibition on anxiety- and depression-like behaviors, respectively. GR inhibition within the NTS decreased open arm exploratory behavior in the EPM and increased immobility in the FST relative to controls. Together, the findings reveal a novel role of NTS GR signaling for inhibiting both endocrine and behavioral responses to stress.
Project description:Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) bind 5-HT transporters, leading to the accumulation of 5-HT and amelioration of depression. Although different mouse strains show varying sensitivity to SSRIs in mouse models of depression, the underlying mechanism of these strain differences remains unclear. Here, the SSRI citalopram dose-dependently reduced immobility time in both the FST and TST in DBA/2J mice but not C57BL/6J mice, whereas fluoxetine showed the opposite results. Paroxetine similarly reduced immobility time in both strains. The affinity of citalopram for the 5-HT transporter was 700-fold higher in DBA/2J mice than in C57BL/6J mice, whereas the affinity of fluoxetine was 100-fold higher in C57BL/6J mice than in DBA/2J mice. Furthermore, high citalopram concentrations were required for [3H]5-HT uptake in C57BL/6J but not in DBA/2J mouse cortical synaptosomes, whereas fluoxetine showed the opposite results. The effects of paroxetine on 5-HT transporter binding and synaptosomal 5-HT uptake were similar in the two strains. These results suggest that immobility duration depends on 5-HT transporter binding levels, which lead to apparent strain differences in immobility time in the FST and TST. Furthermore, differences in 5-HT transporter binding may cause variations in SSRI effects on behaviors.
Project description:Accumulating evidence implicates dysregulation of hippocampal synaptic plasticity in the pathophysiology of depression. However, the effects of ketamine on synaptic plasticity and their contribution to its mechanism of action as an antidepressant, are still unclear. We investigated ketamine's effects on in vivo dorsal hippocampal (dHPC) synaptic plasticity and their role in mediating aspects of antidepressant activity in the Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) model of depression. dHPC long-term potentiation (LTP) was significantly impaired in WKY rats compared to Wistar controls. Importantly, a single low dose (5?mg/kg, ip) of ketamine or its metabolite, (2R,6R)-HNK, rescued the LTP deficit in WKY rats at 3.5?h but not 30?min following injection, with residual effects at 24?h, indicating a delayed, sustained facilitatory effect on dHPC synaptic plasticity. Consistent with the observed dHPC LTP deficit, WKY rats exhibited impaired hippocampal-dependent long-term spatial memory as measured by the novel object location recognition test (NOLRT), which was effectively restored by pre-treatment with both ketamine or (2R,6R)-HNK. In contrast, in WKYs, which display abnormal stress coping, ketamine, but not (2R,6R)-HNK, had rapid and sustained effects in the forced swim test (FST), a commonly used preclinical screen for antidepressant-like activity. The differential effects of (2R,6R)-HNK observed here reveal a dissociation between drug effects on FST immobility and dHPC synaptic plasticity. Therefore, in the WKY rat model, restoring dHPC LTP was not correlated with ketamine's effects in FST, but importantly, may have contributed to the reversal of hippocampal-dependent cognitive deficits, which are critical features of clinical depression. Our findings support the theory that ketamine may reverse the stress-induced loss of connectivity in key neural circuits by engaging synaptic plasticity processes to "reset the system".
Project description:Major depressive disorder is a common debilitating mental health problem that represents one of the leading causes of disability. Up to date, the therapeutic targets and approaches are still limited. Adult hippocampal neurogenesis (AHN) has been proposed as a critical contributor to the pathophysiology and treatment of depression, altering the hippocampal control over stress response at network, neuroendocrine and behavioral levels. These findings together have suggested that manipulating AHN may be a promising therapeutic strategy for depression. To investigate this question, we assessed whether increasing adult neurogenesis would be sufficient to produce antidepressant-like effects at behavioral and neuroendocrine levels in a mouse model of depression; the unpredictable chronic mild stress (UCMS). For this purpose, we used a bi-transgenic mouse line (iBax) in which AHN increase was induced by deletion of the pro-apoptotic gene Bax from the neural progenitors following the tamoxifen-dependent action of CreERT2 recombinases. UCMS induced a syndrome that is reminiscent of depression-like states, including anhedonia (cookie test), physical changes (coat deterioration, reduced weight gain), anxiety-like behaviors (higher latency in the novelty-supressed feeding -NSF- test), passive stress-coping behaviors (immobility in the forced swim test -FST-) and a blunted hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis reactivity to acute stress in addition to AHN decrease. Tamoxifen injection reversed the AHN decrease as well as partly counteracted UCMS effects on the cookie test and HPA axis but not for the coat state, weight gain, NSF test and FST. Taken together, our results suggest that a strategy directing at increasing AHN may be able to alleviate some depression-related behavioral and neuroendocrine dimensions of UCMS, such as anhedonia and HPA axis reactivity deficits, but may be hardly sufficient to produce a complete recovery.
Project description:Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a complex illness caused by both genetic and environmental factors. Antidepressant resistance also has a genetic component. To date, however, very few genes have been identified for major depression or antidepressant resistance. In this study, we investigated whether outbred heterogeneous stock (HS) rats would be a suitable model to uncover the genetics of depression and its connection to antidepressant resistance. The Wistar Kyoto (WKY) rat, one of the eight founders of the HS, is a recognized animal model of juvenile depression and is resistant to fluoxetine antidepressant treatment. We therefore hypothesized that adolescent HS rats would exhibit variation in both despair-like behavior and response to fluoxetine treatment. We assessed heritability of despair-like behavior and response to sub-acute fluoxetine using a modified forced swim test (FST) in 4-week-old HS rats. We also tested whether blood transcript levels previously identified as depression biomarkers in adolescent human subjects are differentially expressed in HS rats with high vs. low FST immobility. We demonstrate heritability of despair-like behavior in 4-week-old HS rats and show that many HS rats are resistant to fluoxetine treatment. In addition, blood transcript levels of Amfr, Cdr2 and Kiaa1539, genes previously identified in human adolescents with MDD, are differentially expressed between HS rats with high vs. low immobility. These data demonstrate that FST despair-like behavior will be amenable to genetic fine-mapping in adolescent HS rats. The overlap between human and HS blood biomarkers suggest that these studies may translate to depression in humans.