Forced swimming test in rats: effect of desipramine administration and the period of exposure to the test on struggling behavior, swimming, immobility and defecation rate

Antonio Armario, Amadeu Gavaldà, Octavi Martí

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    126 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The effect of desipramine administration and the duration of the daily exposure to forced swimming on some variables has been studied in adult male rats. Desipramine administration (15 mg/kg) significantly increased struggling behavior in the first and second 5-min periods of a single exposure to forced swimming. Swimming was reduced in the first 5 min and remained unchanged thereafter. Immobility was decreased in the second and the third 5-min periods. After a pre-exposure to forced swimming for 15 min the day before, the drug was effective in increasing struggling behavior and reducing immobility during a subsequent 5-min test. Swimming was not modified. Daily exposure to forced swimming for 3 days caused a decline in struggling behavior and swimming, while increasing immobility and the defecation rate. The duration of daily exposure to forced swimming,did not alter the changes in the variables measured. The present results indicate that a one-day test can be used to discriminate between saline- and desipramine-treated rats, and that struggling behavior could be a reliable measure of the positive action of antidepressants. The finding that behavioral changes over the 3 days were independent of the duration of exposure to swimming argues against the interpretation of the results which suggest that the responses are caused by the appearance of a behavioral despair state, and suggests that these behaviors might be trait-markers in the rat. In addition, the changes in struggling behavior and immobility over the 3 days cannot be attributed to a behavioral adaptation to the test because the defecation rate increased rather than decreased during successive forced swimming tests. © 1988.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)207-212
    JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmacology
    Volume158
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 13 Dec 1988

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