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Exploring test batteries for depression- and anxiety-like behaviours in female and male ICR and black Swiss mice

  • Lydmila Kazavchinsky (a1) (a2), Sofi Dahan (a2) and Haim Einat (a2)

Abstract

Objective and rationale: Animal models are critical for the study of mental disorders and their treatments but are repeatedly criticized for problems with validity and reproducibility. One approach to enhance validity and reproducibility of models is to use test batteries rather than single tests. Yet, a question regarding batteries is whether one can expect a consistent individual behavioural phenotype in mice across tests that can be presumed to be part of the same construct. This study was designed to explore the relationship between the behaviours of mice across tests in some variations of test batteries for depression- and anxiety-like behaviours. Methods: Female and male healthy, intact, and untreated mice from the ICR and black Swiss strains were used in four separate experiments. With some variations, mice were exposed to a battery of behavioural tests representing affective- and anxiety-like behaviours. Data were analysed for differences between sexes and for correlations between behaviours within and across the tests in the battery. Results: No differences were found between the sexes. With very few exceptions, we found correlations within tests (when one test has more than one measure or is repeated) but not across different tests within the battery. Conclusions: The results cast some doubt on the utility of behavioural test batteries to represent different facets of emotional behaviour in healthy intact outbred mice, without any interventions or treatments. Additional studies are designed to explore whether stronger relationship between the tests will appear after manipulations or drug treatments.

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Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Haim Einat, Email: haimh@mta.ac.il

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These authors had equal contribution to the study.

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References

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Exploring test batteries for depression- and anxiety-like behaviours in female and male ICR and black Swiss mice

  • Lydmila Kazavchinsky (a1) (a2), Sofi Dahan (a2) and Haim Einat (a2)

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