Forced swim test

Tools for the

Forced swim test

The (Porsolt) forced swim test, also known as the behavioral despair test, is used to test for depression-like behavior in both mice and rats. The test includes placing a rat or mouse inside a cylinder filled with water.

Traditionally, ‘floating behavior’ (where the animal remains almost immobile and with its head above water) is used as a parameter to analyze ‘hopelessness’ and thus depression-like behavior.

Tools for the Forced swim test
 

Cylinder design

The cylinder is a straight-forward design. Sizing is importantly linked to the function of the test. The Noldus forced swim cylinder has standard and custom size options, and is perfectly suited for video tracking research with EthoVision XT or in-depth behavioral scoring with The Observer XT. We can also provide you with a sound attenuating chamber.   

The Noldus forced swim test cylinder is available in a cost-efficient package deal that includes a computer and a full EthoVision XT software license for video tracking. This license can also be used for the video tracking and automation of other behavioral tests.

 
forced swim test cylinder illustrated
 


Automatic detection of behaviors

Video tracking allows you to detect some behaviors automatically, such as immobility, which is indicative of freezing. The three variations of mobility – immobile, mobile, and highly mobile – indicate the three most important behaviors in the forced swim test: floating, swimming, and climbing/ escaping.

There are two ways to detect this with EthoVision XT, and they can be used alongside each other. First is by tracking the center point of the animal and determining if it is immobile or not. Thresholds can be defined by the user. Second, you can use activity detection. This method might even give you more robust data as it focuses on changes in the arena from one video frame to the next.  

 
white rat looking over edge of lab cage mirror
 


Customer quote

"EthoVision XT is an essential tool in our lab because it removes subjectivity and provides quantitative data to behavioral analysis."

Dr. E. Luckhardt|Concorida College, USA

 


Prof. Rimondini: "EthoVision XT is for dummies."

Prof. Roberto Rimondini is a neuropsychopharmacologist at the Department of Medical and Clinical Sciences DIMEC, Alma Mater Studiorum Bologna (University of Bologna, Italy). He has been using EthoVision XT video tracking software since its DOS version! He finds it so easy to use, it’s ‘dummy proof’!

Watch the video to learn more about why he chooses Noldus' tools.

 


Alternative suppliers

The Noldus forced swim cylinder can be adjusted to your custom request. Alternatively, we also offer options from several suppliers such as Ugo Basile and Maze Engineers (availability may depend on your location).

 


Relevant blogs

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Ticking clocks – tides and activity peaks in American horseshoe crabs

Recently, I came across an interesting paper in which American horseshoe crabs were video-tracked to investigate their internal clocks.
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Knockout of Down syndrome gene in zebrafish leads to autistic-like behaviors

Knockout of Down syndrome gene in zebrafish leads to autistic-like behaviors: Though earlier knockout models in mice failed, researchers have developed a successful zebrafish model.
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How to get reliable results on object recognition using video tracking

In the beginning of this year I wrote a post about the Morris water maze test, a popular and well-validated paradigm to study learning and memory in rats and mice.
 
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