Immobility in the swim test and observations of maternal behavior in lactating flinders sensitive line rats

Yael Lavi-Avnon, Michal Shayit, Gal Yadid, H. David Overstreet, Aron Weller

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25 Scopus citations


In order to elucidate the relationship between maternal behavior and depression, the Flinders sensitive line (FSL) model of depression was studied and compared to Sprague-Dawley (SD) controls. Immobility in the swim test was measured, as an index for depressive-like behavior, and frequencies of maternal and non-maternal behaviors were recorded using short un-intrusive observations in the home cage. Lactating FSL rats displayed higher levels of immobility in the swim test compared to controls, indicating depressive-like behavior. In addition, compared to SD rats, FSL dams showed less frequent pup licking and non-nutritive contact with pups during the first and third weeks of lactation. In the third postpartum week, FSL dams showed less frequent nursing postures and more frequent self-directed behaviors. Thus, lactating FSL dams exhibit both depressed-like behavior and some abnormalities in maternal behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-163
Number of pages9
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 3 Jun 2005

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
YLA was supported by a President's fellowship, Bar-Ilan University. A portion of this research was supported by a grant from the Israel Foundation Trustees to AW. Research in Dr. Weller's Lab is partially supported by the Paula Rich Center, Bar-Ilan University, Israel. The authors thank O. Schwartz for help in animal care, and M.M. Myers, H. Shair, J. Polan, C.P. Cramer, and S.A. Brunelli for discussion of portions of the current data. Also M. Schroeder, Y. Stern, O. Malkesman and Y. Braw are thanked for their assistance.


  • Animal models
  • Depression
  • Maternal behavior
  • Stress


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