Differential effects of clonidine, lithium and quinine in the forced swimming test in mice for antidepressants: possible roles of serotoninergic systems

Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 1996 Aug;6(3):231-6. doi: 10.1016/0924-977x(96)00025-9.


The forced swimming test (FST) is a behavioral test used to predict the efficacy of antidepressant (AD) treatments. In the present study, it was found that, when combined with clonidine, lithium or quinine, subactive doses of several types of ADs (tricyclics, 5-HT uptake inhibitors and atypical ADs) produced anti-immobility effects in mice. Clonidine (0.06 mg/kg) was found to potentiate the AD-like effects of all the drugs tested in the FST. More interesting is the additivity of gepirone with lithium (1 mEq/l), and ondansetron with quinine (0.5 mg/kg). The results of the present study are in favour of the potentiation of AD activity by clonidine via 5-HT2 receptors, lithium through 5-HT1A receptors, and quinine through 5-HT3 receptors. Further studies to examine in detail which of these three 5-HT receptors or their subtypes is the most important in the actions of individual ADs are warranted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antidepressive Agents / pharmacology*
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Clonidine / pharmacology*
  • Drug Interactions*
  • Lithium / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Motor Activity / drug effects*
  • Quinine / pharmacology*


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Lithium
  • Quinine
  • Clonidine