The automated Tail Suspension Test: a computerized device which differentiates psychotropic drugs

Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 1987;11(6):659-71. doi: 10.1016/0278-5846(87)90002-9.


1. Mice when suspended by the tail will alternate between active attempts to escape and immobility. Immobility like that measured in the behavioral despair test is reduced by a wide variety of antidepressant agents. 2. The present paper describes a computerized version of this test (ITEMATIC-TST) which in addition to recording immobility measures the power of the movements. 3. Various tricyclic (amitriptyline, desipramine, imipramine), MAOI (clorgyline, moclobemide, nialamide, pargyline, toloxatone) and atypical antidepressants (bupropion, citalopram, indalpine, mianserin, nomifensine, viloxazine) were tested and compared with psychostimulants (d-amphetamine, caffeine), neuroleptics (chlorpromazine, haloperidol, sulpiride), anxiolytics (clobazam, diazepam) and agents acting on the cholinergic system (atropine, oxotremorine). 4. All antidepressants decreased the duration of immobility and most increased the power of movements. 5. The psychostimulants also decreased immobility but only amphetamine increased the power of movements. 6. Neuroleptics increased immobility without affecting the power of movements, whereas anxiolytics increased immobility but decreased the power of movements. 7. Atropine had a profile similar to antidepressants whereas oxotremorine tended to have opposite effects. 8. The results suggest that the automated test system with its two parameters is not only sensitive to antidepressants but could also be useful for generating activity profiles for different kinds of psychotropic agent.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antidepressive Agents / pharmacology
  • Antipsychotic Agents / pharmacology
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects*
  • Computers
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical / methods*
  • Immobilization
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Parasympathomimetics / pharmacology
  • Psychotropic Drugs / pharmacology*


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors
  • Parasympathomimetics
  • Psychotropic Drugs