Additive effects of clonidine and antidepressant drugs in the mouse forced-swimming test

Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1988;96(1):104-9. doi: 10.1007/BF02431541.


In the mouse forced-swimming model, dose-dependent reversal of immobility was induced by the alpha-agonist clonidine given IP 30 min before testing. In addition, three preferential inhibitors of 5-HT uptake (citalopram, indalpine and fluvoxamine) had similar activity in the dose range 8-16 mg/kg as did the 5-HT1 agonist 8-OH-DPAT (1-4 mg/kg). Pretreatment with alpha-methyl-paratyrosine (100 mg/kg) did not prevent clonidine (1 mg/kg) action, suggesting that there was mediation by alpha post-junctional receptors. The effect of clonidine was unaltered by prazosin (2 mg/kg) and reversed by yohimbine (4 mg/kg) and 5-MeODMT (1 mg/kg), whereas it was potentiated by reserpine (2.5 mg/kg), methysergide (2 mg/kg) and ketanserin (8 mg/kg). Moreover, an ineffective dose of clonidine (0.06 mg/kg at 45 min pre-testing) made active subthreshold doses of various antidepressants (given at 30 min pre-testing): imipramine (4 mg/kg), amitriptyline (1 mg/kg), maprotiline (8 mg/kg), citalopram (2 mg/kg), indalpine, fluvoxamine and mianserin (4 mg/kg), viloxazine (2 mg/kg). Similar interactions were found with iprindole and nialamide (32 mg/kg), which were inactive alone up to 64 mg/kg, and 8-OH-DPAT (0.5 mg/kg) but not with major and minor tranquillizers. It is suggested that one effect of antidepressants might be the triggering of different relationships between alpha-2 and 5-HT mechanisms.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antidepressive Agents / pharmacology*
  • Clonidine / pharmacology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Synergism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Motor Activity / drug effects*
  • Norepinephrine / physiology
  • Serotonin / physiology
  • Swimming


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Serotonin
  • Clonidine
  • Norepinephrine