Sensitivity during the forced swim test is a key factor in evaluating the antidepressant effects of abscisic acid in mice

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Abscisic acid (ABA), a crucial phytohormone, is distributed in the brains of mammals and has been shown to have antidepressant effects in the chronic unpredictable mild stress test. The forced swim test (FST) is another animal model that can be used to assess antidepressant-like behavior in rodents. Here, we report that the antidepressant effects of ABA are associated with sensitivities to the FST in mice. Based on mean immobility in the 5-min forced swim pre-test, ICR mice were divided into short immobility mice (SIM) and long immobility mice (LIM) substrains. FST was carried out 8 days after drug administration. Learned helplessness, as shown by increased immobility, was only observed in SIM substrain and could be prevented by an 8-day ABA treatment. Our results show that ABA has antidepressant effects in SIM substrain and suggest that mice with learned helplessness might be more suitable for screening potential antidepressant drugs.

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