Genetic mouse models of depression.
This chapter focuses on the use of genetically modified mice in investigating the neurobiology of depressive behaviour. First, the behavioural tests commonly used as a model of depressive-like behaviour in rodents are described. These tests include those sensitive to antidepressant treatment such as the forced swim test and the tail suspension test, as well as other tests that encompass the wider symptomatology of a depressive episode. A selection of example mutant mouse lines is then presented to illustrate the use of these tests. As our understanding of depression increases, an expanding list of candidate genes is being investigated using mutant mice. Here, mice relevant to the monoamine and corticotrophin-releasing factor hypotheses of depression are covered as well as those relating to the more recent candidate, brain-derived neurotrophic factor. This selection provides interesting examples of the use of complimentary lines, such as those that have genetic removal or overexpression, and also opposing behavioural changes seen following manipulation of closely related genes. Finally, factors such as the issue of background strain and influence of environmental factors are reflected upon, before considering what can realistically be expected of a mouse model of this complex psychiatric disorder.