The Forced Swim Test is based on the assumption that animals try to escape from an aversive stimulus. The test is used to measure the effect of antidepressant drugs or the genotype on the emotional status of animals.
Animals are placed in a transparent Plexiglas cylinder filled with water. The animal’s behavior is recorded and the duration of immobility as well as struggling and swimming is measured. Increased immobility (floating) is interpreted as a behavioral correlate of negative mood, representing depression-like behavior in the animal.
Forced Swim Test in adult Sprague Dawley rats treated with 2 mg/kg Diazepam. Time spent floating compared to vehicle treated animals. Diazepam: n = 8; Vehicle: n = 9; mean + SEM; T-test, ***p<0.001.