Preclinical screening for antidepressant activity – shifting focus away from the Forced Swim Test to the use of translational biomarkers

Fiona Sewell*, Ian Waterson, David Jones, Mark David Tricklebank, Ian Ragan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Depression is the world's predominant mental health problem and a leading cause of disability. Neuropharmacological research has not yet advanced treatments to sufficiently meet clinical need, largely due to the failure of animal models to predict clinical efficacy. The forced swim test (FST) has been extensively used in the field of antidepressant research but has been under scrutiny due to its perceived severity to animals. Any use of animals in experiments and testing must have a scientific or regulatory purpose and researchers need to ensure that there is no scientifically valid alternative. However, regulatory requirements have been incorrectly cited as a reason to support the use of the FST. More research is required on tests that do not involve stressing animals as replacements for the FST. Non-behavioural neurochemical measures might provide a means to advance neuropharmacological developments while reducing animal suffering. For example, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) may be promising.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105002
JournalRegulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology
Volume125
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

Keywords

  • 3Rs
  • Antidepressant
  • Brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)
  • Forced swim test (FST)
  • Porsolt test

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