The forced swim test (FST) measures the time spent swimming versus the time spent floating in a tall cylinder filled with water. Rats or mice will swim in the water looking for an escape route. After some time, the animal may stop swimming and will start floating. This is regarded as ‘given up the search’.
Example Study Paradigm of FST
Click here to see a diagram outlining an example study paradigm using the forced swim test.
Treatment with desipramine, a tricyclic antidepressant, decreases passivity and increases climbing. Treatment with fluoxetine, an antidepressant of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, decreases passivity and increases swimming time.
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