Can be used to test the effect of SSRI-s and  tricyclic antidepressants and to identify new drugs with potential antidepressant activity.

The test is based on the assumption that an animal will actively try to escape an aversive (stressful) stimulus. If escape is impossible, the animal will eventually stop trying ("give up"). In the tail suspension (TST), a mouse is suspended by the tail so that its body dangles in the air, facing downward. When the animal stops struggling and hangs immobile it is considered to have “given up”.  Longer periods of immobility are characteristic of a depressive-like state.

Antidepressants reduce immobility.

Some strains (e.g., C57BL/6J) may not perform well in the TST due to tail climbing behaviour. Strains with vestibular deficits may show an abnormal spinning phenotype and should also not be used in the TST. Other mouse phenotypes that display neurological abnormalities that lead to unusual leg clasping behaviour or that influence immobility times may also not be appropriate animals for this test1.


1. CL Bergner, AN Smolinsky, PC Hart, BD Dufour, RJ Egan, JL LaPorte, AV Kalueff. 2010. Mouse Models for Studying Depression-Like States and Antidepressant Drugs.  In: Mouse Models for Drug Discovery, Methods in Molecular Biology 602: 267-282.