Time to abolish the forced swim test in rats for depression research?
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The forced swim test (FST) is a controversial rodent test that has been used for decades, mainly in depression studies. The severity of the procedure makes it ethically questionable and its validity has also been questioned. In this paper we contribute new data to this debate. We identified original research papers related to Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), using rats as models. We compared the citations received by studies that used the FST and by studies that did not, within subsequent human medical papers. The results show that the number of citations received by both groups was very low, but in the papers describing the FST data the median citation number was zero. Citation analysis indicates that the FST is not contributing significantly to the understanding or cure of MDD. We briefly review other approaches that overcome the ethical limitations of the FST, and which might also surpass its efficacy.
Carvalho , C , Herrmann , K , Marques , T A & Knight , A 2021 , ' Time to abolish the forced swim test in rats for depression research? ' , Journal of Applied Animal Ethics Research , vol. 4 , no. 2 , pp. 170-178 . https://doi.org/10.1163/25889567-bja10026
Journal of Applied Animal Ethics Research
Copyright © CONSTANÇA CARVALHO ET AL., 2021. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the CC BY-NC 4.0 license.
DescriptionFunding: This publication was financed by Portuguese national funds within the CFCUL – Centro de Filosofia das Ciência da Universidade de Lisboa, research center strategic project, ref. UIDB/00678/2020, funded by FCT – Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia. TAM is grateful for the partial support by CEAUL (funded by FCT – Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, Portugal, through the project UIDB/00006/2020).
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