- The effects of lithium in models of depression are often inconsistent. We aimed to replicate a regimen that induces robust antidepressant effects in the forced-swim test. Mice were treated with three different doses of lithium chloride (LiCl) 0.25, 0.4 or 0.5% in food and the forced-swim test or open field test was performed on day 15. We yoked control mice to food deprivation to test whether lithium-induced food deprivation could cause the lithium effects in the forced-swim test. Treatment with LiCl doses leading to blood levels of 1.3 and 1.4 mmol/l led to highly significant reduction in immobility time in the forced-swim test, but the dose leading to a blood level of 0.8 mmol/l was not different from controls in immobility time. Mice yoked to lithium-induced food deprivation showed no difference in the forced-swim test compared with controls. In conclusion these results suggest that lithium effects in mice in the forced-swim test are dose dependent but not owing to lithium-induced weight loss.