Korean J Psychopharmacol.  2000 Dec;11(4):291-303.

Animal Models of Depresstion and Screening of Antidepressants

  • 1Department of Pharmacology, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


Depression is one of the most common disease, but the pathophysiologic mechanism of depression remains elusive. To elucidate the cellular and molecular mechanisms of depression, animal models of depression have been developed, and these models were used successfully to predict the clinical efficacy of new antidepressant drugs. However, it is not likely that current animal models imitate all aspects of depression and are reliable, because we can not evaluate emotional state of rodents verbally and rodents have very different behavioral responses compared with ours. Despite these difficulties, understanding the benefits and limitations of animal models is very important for an advance in basic and clinical research of depression. The first part of the review evaluates animal models of depression in relation with stress that may contribute, in part, to development of depression: chronic mild stress, chronic unpredictable stress, maternal separation. The second part describes the most widely used animal models to screen for potential antidepressant: learned helplessness model and forced swimming test.


Animal model; Depression; Antidepressant; Chronic mild stress; Maternal separation; Learned helplessness; Forced swimming test

MeSH Terms

Antidepressive Agents*
Helplessness, Learned
Mass Screening*
Models, Animal*
Physical Exertion
Antidepressive Agents
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