Estrogen effects on the forced swim test differ in two outbred rat strains

Wendy A. Koss, Haim Einat, Robert J. Schloesser, Husseini K. Manji, David R. Rubinow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Changes in reproductive hormones, such as estrogen, play a role in mood regulation. The present study examined strain differences (Long-Evans vs. Wistar-Hannover) in the behavioral and biochemical effects of estrogen manipulation. Adult ovariectomized female rats were treated with estradiol, vehicle, or withdrawn from estradiol. The two strains demonstrated differential behavioral responses to short-term estradiol administration in the forced swim test; estradiol induced an antidepressant-like effect in Long-Evans rats but not in Wistar rats. Conversely, withdrawal from estradiol resulted in a depressive-like state in the Wistar rats but not in the Long-Evans rats. Western blot analyses found no differences in estrogen receptors α and β within the hippocampus or the frontal cortex, two brain areas strongly implicated in affective disorders. These data demonstrate the importance of strain as a variable when interpreting behavioral effects of estrogen.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-86
Number of pages6
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - 15 May 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Depression
  • Estrogen
  • Estrogen receptors
  • Forced swim test
  • Strain differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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