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 journalArticlepeer-review


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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