Animal Models of Depression

Animal models of depression26-28 and BPAD have proved to be of considerable value in elucidating basic pathophysiological mechanisms and in developing novel treatments. However, the challenges faced by psychopharma-cologists in modeling human affective disorders in experimental animals are fraught with difficulties. As new targets emerge through hypothesis-driven research or serendipity, the challenge is to link the mechanism to a clinical complex and heterogeneous disorder. Consequently, much of the animal research today is framed around physiological and neurobiological phenomena that may bear little resemblance to the disease state. However, Matthews etal.29 argue that the poverty of reliable clinical science feedback needs to be addressed first, which would aid future model development. Table 6 outlines the pros and cons of the classical models of depression (e.g., Porsolt forced swim test (FST), tail suspension test, olfactory bulbectomy, learned helplessness, chronic mild stress, and resident intruder) that have stood the test of time in the development of novel antidepressants.

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