Comparisons between anxiety tests for selection of anxious and non anxious mice

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Abstract

Male Swiss albinos mice were submitted to two behavioural tests intended to determine their anxiety level: the elevated plus-maze test as well as the black and white compartments test. In addition they were submitted to the hole-board test. It was observed: (i) that the correlation between scores in the two first tests was weak, suggesting that they explore different components of anxiety; (ii) that the score on the latter test was better correlated with the response in the elevated plus-maze test than in the black and white compartments test. From these data three groups of animals were constituted, considered, respectively, as anxious, non anxious and intermediates. It was observed that both horizontal and vertical locomotion in an unfamiliar environment differed between groups, with higher activity in non anxious than in anxious. In the hole-board test, only animals classified as anxious displayed an obvious response to the anxiolytic drug diazepam (0.5 mg/kg). Finally in the forced-swimming test, the three groups demonstrated a similar immobility time, suggesting that the operated segregation was not depending on a helpless component. It is proposed that the selection of mice from a combination of either elevated plus-maze and black and white compartments tests or a combination of hole-board test and black and white compartments test, allows to distinguish high or low anxiety animals among a population of mice.

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