How do you study depression in animals? What do you do, and what does it mean? Scientists have several ways to approach a study of depression in animal models. You can try and knockout specific genes, and see how those genes impact depressive like behaviors. You can try and induce depressive like behaviors by stress or environmental changes. And then you can breed animals together into lines, not for a specific gene, but for a specific behavioral or neurobiological set of responses. In this way scientists have studies alcoholism by breeding alcohol preferring and non-preferring rats, and in this particular study, scientists have studied depression using the flinders sensitive line.
Owens et al. “Sert-ainly slower: Reduced sert expression and function in the flinders sensitive line (fsl) rat model of depression” University of Texas Health Sciences, San Antonio. 343.26, G1.