A mouse model for depression and anxiety induced by chronic corticosterone injections

Thomas Demuyser, Eduard-Mihai Bentea, Lauren Deneyer, An De Prins, Joeri Van Liefferinge, Giulia Albertini, Ellen Merckx, Ann Massie, Ilse Julia Smolders

Research output: Unpublished contribution to conferencePoster


Thomas Demuyser1, Lauren Deneyer1, Eduard Bentea1, Joeri Van Liefferinge1, Ellen Merckx1, Giulia Albertini1, Ann Massie1, Ilse Smolders1
1Center for Neurosciences, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium

Depression and anxiety are among the most common psychiatric disorders, leading to diminished everyday functioning and inferior quality of life. Current neurobiological theories of depression and anxiety focus on aberrant biogenic amine neurotransmission and almost all clinically used antidepressants target monoamine reuptake mechanisms and/or receptors. To investigate possible other hypotheses of these psychiatric disorders, relevant animal models are needed. One of the most used models in current research is the corticosterone mouse model.
Since in humans, the stress experience contributes to the pathogenesis of depression, the connection between stress and depression was initially drawn from observations of aberrant cortisol homeostasis.

Chronic corticosterone elevation causes pathological changes in the central nervous system, that are related to psychiatric disorders. To induce this phenotype in mice, there are several possible procedures described for administration of the corticosterone. In our experimental set-up we compare a subcutaneous pellet insertion with a subcutaneous injection method. In the first protocol we implanted a pellet of corticosterone s.c. in the neck of the mouse. Subsequently the corticosterone was released during 3 weeks, in a daily dose of 18 mg/kg. With the injection protocol we will inject the mice daily with a dose of 20 mg/kg.

After the corticosterone administration we performed some behavioral tests. The forced swim test, mouse-tail suspension test and saccharine test were conducted for depressive-like behavior, and the elevated plus maze, light dark paradigm, novelty suppressed feeding and open field test were conducted for anxious behavior. For the pellet group we can conclude that the characterization of the model showed the most promising results in the forced swim test and novelty suppressed feeding test. In general high degrees of variation were observed in all tests and the corticosterone pellets do not seem to be the ideal way for stable chronic release.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Corticosterone
  • Mouse model
  • Depressio and anxiety


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