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Validation of a genetic mouse model for anxiety and comorbid depression
Three years ago we started to selectively and bi-directionally breed mice for extremes in anxiety-related behaviour on the elevated plus-maze in order to establish two lines named high (HAB-M) and low (LAB-M) anxiety-related behaviour mice. At present, mice are in their 15th generation, and several tests like the dark-light avoidance task, the tail suspension test and the forced-swim test show that HAB-M and LAB-M differ reliably and consistently in both anxiety-related and comorbid depression-like criteria.
Differences in the expression of two proteins were also consistently observed when extracts of red blood cells and several brain structures of HAB-M and LAB-M mice were analysed by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. Furthermore, AVP mRNA expression is heightened in the PVN of HAB-M thus providing an additional marker of trait anxiety/depression and a potential target of novel antidepressive tools. First approaches using imipramine point towards a pharmacological validation of the mouse model.