Animal models of anxiety

Newsletter # 05



Animal models

Welcome to our newsletter which presents rodent models of anxiety: light-dark test, elevated plus maze, and marble burying test.
Anxiety disorders are the most common type of psychiatric disorders characterised by fear and anxiety. The feeling of fear is usually accompanied by physical symptoms (such as heart racing, sweating, tense muscles and so on) and changes in behaviour often called avoidance behaviours. Although everyone experiences anxiety from time to time, anxiety becomes a disorder when the symptoms or avoidance behaviours interfere with the person's life and stop them doing things they want to do. It is imperative to develop new and better treatments for anxiety disorders because current treatments (benzodiazepines, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, tricyclic antidepressant) present side effects such as withdrawal symptoms, sedation, nausea, weight gain, nervousness, sexual dysfunction...

In order to test the efficiency of novel antidepressant treatment NEUROFIT offers 3 well-accepted rodent models: elevated plus maze, light-dark test and marble burying test.


  • Elevated plus maze (EPM) in mouse and rat



  • The EPM situation rests on the conflict between the innate tendencies of rodents to explore novel environments and avoid open and brightly lit areas. Anxiolytic drugs increase the time spent in the open arms and increase the number of open arm entries in this test.

    In mice (left panel) and in rats (Right panel), 1 mg/kg diazepam induces a significant increase in the time spent in the open arms.

  • Light-dark test (LD) in mouse


    Dose-response curve of diazepam -treated mice in the light dark test.

  • Marble burying in mice


    The marble burying test is used to record the number of marbles buried by mice placed in a novel environment. Anxiolytic drugs reduce burying behaviour.

    1 mg/kg diazepam significantly reduces the number of buried marble.



NEUROFIT offers a range of validated in vitro and in vivo screening tests for psychiatry and neurology.

If you need further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.
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