Adult hippocampal neurogenesis is not necessary for the response to lithium in the forced swim test

Melinda E. Snitow, Giulia Zanni, Brianna Ciesielski, Pamela Burgess-Jones, Amelia J Eisch, W. Timothy O'Brien, Peter S. Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Chronic lithium treatment stimulates adult hippocampal neurogenesis, but whether increased neurogenesis contributes to its therapeutic mechanism remains unclear. We use a genetic model of neural progenitor cell (NPC) ablation to test whether a lithium-sensitive behavior requires hippocampal neurogenesis. NPC-ablated mice were treated with lithium and assessed in the forced swim test (FST). Lithium reduced time immobile in the FST in NPC-ablated and control mice but had no effect on activity in the open field, a control for the locomotion-based FST. These findings show that hippocampal NPCs that proliferate in response to chronic lithium are not necessary for the behavioral response to lithium in the FST. We further show that 4–6 week old immature hippocampal neurons are not required for this response. These data suggest that increased hippocampal neurogenesis does not contribute to the response to lithium in the forced swim test and may not be an essential component of its therapeutic mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-72
Number of pages6
JournalNeuroscience Letters
StatePublished - Jun 21 2019
Externally publishedYes



  • Bipolar disorder
  • Forced swim test
  • GSK-3
  • Lithium
  • Neural progenitor cells
  • Neurogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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