Fluoxetine induces paradoxical effects in C57BL6/J mice: comparison with BALB/c mice

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The C57BL6/J mouse is the most commonly used strain in genetic investigations and behavioural tests. However, only a few studies have used C57BL6/J mice to assess the effects of antidepressant compounds. We carried out a study to compare the behavioural effects of fluoxetine (FLX) in a model of depression in two mice strains: C57BL6/J and BALB/c. We used an 8-week unpredictable chronic mild stress (UCMS) protocol during which FLX was administered (15 mg/kg, oral) from the third week to the end of the protocol. We found that UCMS induced degradation of the coat state in the two strains. Moreover, as expected, we observed that FLX elicited antidepressant-like effects in the BALB/c mice by reducing the coat state deterioration and the latency of grooming in splash test. However, in the C57BL6/J mice, it did not induce this action, but instead triggered an opposite effect: an increased sniffing latency in the novelty suppression of feeding test. We conclude that FLX exerts a paradoxical effect in the C57Bl6/J strain. This observation is consistent with some clinical features of hyper-reactivity to FLX observed in humans. Therefore, the UCMS protocol used in C57Bl6/J mice could be a good model to study the mechanisms of the paradoxical effects caused by selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

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