Automated experimental system capturing three behavioral components during murine forced swim test

Life Sci. 2011 Feb 28;88(9-10):411-7. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2010.12.016. Epub 2010 Dec 21.


Aims: An automated experimental system applying a commercially available video image analyzer was developed for the simultaneous detection and measurement of three behavioral components; immobility, swimming (horizontal movements) and climbing (vertical movements) that occur in the murine forced swim test (FST). The system was validated using four typical antidepressants.

Main methods: System validity was confirmed by demonstrating no significant difference in 6 min time course of control group and imipramine-dosed group (30 mg/kg) between manual examinations and automated digital analysis for all the three behaviors (i.e., correlation coefficients were 0.96, 0.83 and 0.94 for immobility, swimming and climbing, respectively). The effects of acute single treatment with four antidepressants in clinical use, i.e., imipramine, desipramine, bupropion and fluvoxamine were evaluated at doses of 15, 30 and 60 mg/kg using the system.

Key findings: In 2-4 min time span analysis, all four antidepressants reduced immobility and increased climbing significantly, desipramine and bupropion increased swimming significantly, while imipramine and fluvoxamine did not.

Significance: The automated experimental system enabled efficient and accurate analysis of the three murine behaviors during FST at once. Climbing could be more sensitive parameter to detect anti-depressant-like effect than immobility in this system.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation / pharmacology*
  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic / pharmacology*
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects*
  • Bupropion / pharmacology
  • Desipramine / pharmacology
  • Equipment Design
  • Fluvoxamine / pharmacology
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted
  • Imipramine / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Pattern Recognition, Automated
  • Psychomotor Performance / drug effects
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Swimming / physiology*
  • Video Recording


  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation
  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic
  • Bupropion
  • Fluvoxamine
  • Imipramine
  • Desipramine