Evidence for the involvement of extinction-associated inhibitory learning in the forced swimming test

P. Campus, V. Colelli, C. Orsini, D. Sarra, S. Cabib

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The forced swimming test (FST) remains one of the most used tools for screening antidepressants in rodent models. Nonetheless, the nature of immobility, its main behavioral measure, is still a matter of debate. The present study took advantage of our recent finding that mice of the inbred DBA/2J strain require a functioning left dorsolateral striatum (DLS) to consolidate long-term memory of FST to test whether immobility is the outcome of stress-related learning.Infusion of the GABA-A agonist muscimol in the left DLS immediately after a single experience of FST prevented and infusion in the left or the right amygdala impaired recall of the acquired levels of immobility in a probe test performed 24. h later. Post-training left DLS infusion of muscimol, at a dose capable of preventing retention of FST-induced immobility, did not influence 24. h retention of inhibitory avoidance training or of the escape response acquired in a water T-maze. However, this same treatment prevented 24. h retention of the extinction training of the consolidated escape response.These results indicate that a left DLS-centered memory system selectively mediates memory consolidation of FST and of escape extinction and support the hypothesis that immobility is the result of extinction-like inhibitory learning involving all available escape responses due to the inescapable/unavoidable nature of FST experience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)348-355
Number of pages8
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2015


  • Animal model
  • Coping
  • Depression
  • Extinction
  • Memory consolidation
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Medicine(all)

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