The forced swimming test as a model for core and component behavioral effects of antidepressant drugs

Behav Pharmacol. 1997 Nov;8(6-7):523-32. doi: 10.1097/00008877-199711000-00010.


The existence of a number of classes of antidepressant drugs with diverse pharmacological effects would lead one to expect that antidepressant drugs acting through different pharmacological mechanisms should produce different behavioral effects. Animal behavioral tests used to screen antidepressant drugs do not, however, discriminate between drugs that selectively enhance serotonin or norepinephrine transmission. Several components of human depression are differently affected by drugs selectively interacting with either serotonin or norepinephrine transmission. The ideal animal model for detecting antidepressant drug effects should thus be sensitive to all antidepressant drugs and should also display multiple components that are sensitive to specific drug classes. The revised scoring of the forced swimming test corresponds to a behavioral test for antidepressant drugs that meet these criteria.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antidepressive Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Swimming / psychology*


  • Antidepressive Agents