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The acute social defeat stress and nest-building test paradigm: A potential new method to screen drugs for depressive-like symptoms

Otabi, Hikari, Goto, Tatsuhiko, Okayama, Tsuyoshi, Kohari, Daisuke, Toyoda, Atsushi
Behavioural processes 2017 v.135 pp. 71-75
animal models, antagonists, antidepressants, anxiety, humans, locomotion, mice, motivation, nests, phenotype, psychological stress, receptors, screening, serotonin, tail suspension test
Psychosocial stress can cause mental conditions such as depression in humans. To develop drug therapies for the treatment of depression, it is necessary to use animal models of depression to screen drug candidates that exhibit anti-depressive effects. Unfortunately, the present methods of drug screening for antidepressants, the forced-swim test and tail-suspension test, are limiting factors in drug discovery because they are not based on the constructive validity of objective phenotypes in depression. Previously, we discovered that the onset of nest building is severely delayed in mice exposed to subchronic mild social defeat stress (sCSDS). Therefore, a novel paradigm combining acute social defeat stress (ASDS) and the nest-building test (SNB) were established for the efficient screening of drugs for depressive-like symptoms. Since ASDS severely delayed the nest-building process as shown in chronically social defeated mice, we sought to rescue the delayed nest-building behavior in ASDS mice. Injecting a specific serotonin 2a receptor antagonist (SR-46349B), the nest-building deficit exhibited by ASDS mice was partially rescued. On the other hand, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (fluoxetine) did not rescue the nest-building deficit in ASDS mice. Therefore, we conclude that the SNB paradigm is an another potential behavioral method for screening drugs for depressive-like symptoms including attention deficit, anxiety, low locomotion, and decreased motivation.