Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Michael Hennessy (Advisor), Michal Kraszpulski (Committee Member), Patricia Schiml (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Separation and Its Effect on the Forced Swim Test In the Guinea Pig Early-life stress such as parental neglect, absence, or abandonment, has been hypothesized to increase the susceptibility for developing depression later in life via sensitization of stress-responsive physiological systems (e.g., pro-inflammatory cytokines, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis). Guinea pigs offer a potential model, but study has been limited to behavioral observations obtained during maternal separation tests. This thesis examined the generalization of this response by asking whether it would cross-sensitize to behavior in another depressive-related paradigm, the forced swim test. In three experiments, pups underwent three forced swim trials, in shallower or deeper water, 24 h or 9 days after 3-h separation period(s). Immobility duration and latency served as the primary dependent measures. I observed cross sensitization of depressive-like behavior (longer duration of immobility) when pups were tested in the deeper water forced swim test 24 h following maternal separation. Results further confirm use of the guinea pig separation model and suggest sensitization of an underlying depressive-like state rather than particular depressive-like behaviors.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Neuroscience, Cell Biology, and Physiology

Year Degree Awarded


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.