Age Related Differences in Acute Stress Reactivity in Adolescent and Adult Male and Female C57BL/6J Mice

Student Classification

India Thomas, 4th-Year, Psychology

Faculty Mentor

Professor Antoinette Maldonado-Devincci, Psychology, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University



Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2023


The forced swim test is a test that can be used to test acute stress reactivity and behavioral despair. In our baseline assessment, 44 adolescent and adult male and female mice were placed in separate inescapable transparent tanks of water for 10 minutes. Escape-related mobility (struggling), latency to immobile, and time spent immoble were measured. Struggling is described as vigorous swimming, thrashing, and/or climbing in an attempt to escape the stressful environment. Climbing is described as vertical movements against the walls. Visual barriers were placed in between each tank to limit outside influences on behavior. There were no age differences in latency to immobility. Adolescent mice, regardless of sex, stopped struggling to escape more quickly and spent more time immobile compared to their respective adult sex-matched counterparts. This pilot study also aims to determine if different stages of estrous cycling mediate these age differences in affective behaviors. Together, these data indicate that adolescent mice, regardless of sex, engage in behavioral despair sooner compared to adults. This may underlie age differences in the severity of behavioral despair on affective reactivity in adolescents compared to adults.

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