Anxiety, Fear, and Affective Disorders

Anxiety and depression are the most commonly diagnosed mental illnesses in the world. With over half the depression cases having a secondary diagnosis of anxiety disorder, they are frequently studied simultaneously. Fear is studied using similar methods to anxiety, as
they share common stress responses. Researchers continue to
develop new animal models and experimental paradigms to
increase translational validity. 

Commonly Studied Disorders

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Panic Disorder
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Phobias
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Major Depressive Disorder
  • Persistent Depressive Disorder
  • Bipolar Affective Disorder

Affective and Anxiety Disorders_Blue

Commonly Used Species in Anxiety, Fear, and Affective Research

Mouse Silhouette




non-human primate

Nonhuman Primates


DSI Solutions are Trusted by Researchers to Get Meaningful Answers Out of Their Studies

Some of the most robust and objectively measurable biomarkers are represented by alterations of physiological parameters. A detailed study of these biomarkers can better clarify the biological substrates, and temporal dynamics of the disease, and help identify better treatments. Anxiety, fear, and affective disorders have a systemic effect that drives researchers to study a variety of physiological systems for a more holistic view. DSI provides a wide range of validated physiological monitoring solutions to fit researcher needs during the many stages of their research. 

Click on a research area below to learn more about endpoints of interest collected in anxiety, fear, and affective studies.


Cardiovascular responses to both affective disorders and anxiety have been well documented in both preclinical studies and clinical patient evaluations. Anxiety and fear trigger the sympathetic nervous system, increasing blood flow and oxygenation to the muscles, while variations of heart rate regulation can differentiate between major depression and bipolar disorder. 

Common Endpoints

Blood Pressure

Heart Rate Variability


Sympathetic Nerve Activity

Google Scholar Indexes 1,210 Publications Citing DSI, Cardiovascular, and Anxiety or Depression


Behavioral testing is conducted to assess the performance of animal models in affective and anxiety disorders, and to test the efficacy of pharmacological and behavioral therapies. Rodents are the most widely used species for behavioral evaluation in psychological disorders.

Common Endpoints


Suppressed Feeding

Exploratory Behavior

Light Aversion

Struggle and Immobility

Sucrose Testing


Lever Press

Learned Helplessness

*Behavioral solutions are available from our Harvard Bioscience sister brands Panlab and Coulbourn Instruments. Reach out to us to learn more about how to incorporate these solutions into your current research set-up.

Google Scholar Indexes 3,600 Publications Citing Panlab and Anxiety or Depression
Google Scholar Indexes 5,920 Publications Citing Coulbourn and Anxiety or Depression


Sleep disturbances, like insomnia and hypersomnia, are common issues in psychological disorders. A variety of sleep disturbances can occur independently or concurrently in the same person. Electroencephalography (EEG) and Electromyography (EMG) are used to evaluate sleep in animal models. In recent years, researchers have also utilized EEG to evaluate changes in brain activity and spectral bands to help diagnose depression, bipolar, and anxiety disorders. 

Google Scholar Indexes 424 Publications Citing DSI, EEG and Anxiety or Depression


Changes in thermoregulatory mechanisms have been shown to occur in both affective and anxiety disorders. Researchers are looking at how core body temperature presents during disease and if alterations could have a therapeutic impact.

Common Endpoints

Core Body Temperature

Localized Temperature

Ambient Temperature



Google Scholar Indexes 1,310 Publications Citing DSI, Temperature and Anxiety or Depression


Recent studies have shown a relationship between glycemic control and mental health, particularly in depression and anxiety disorders. Examples of this include cases of Type 1 diabetes, where higher incidences of depression occur when compared to the general population, and anxiety/fear studies that have shown either increases or decreases of blood glucose levels depending on the subject.

Common Endpoints


Blood Glucose




Google Scholar Indexes 524 Publications Citing DSI, Glucose and Anxiety or Depression

Highlighted Publications

Alexander, L., Wood, C. M., Gaskin, P. L., Sawiak, S. J., Fryer, T. D., Hong, Y. T., ... & Roberts, A. C. (2020). Over-activation of primate subgenual cingulate cortex enhances the cardiovascular, behavioral and neural responses to threatNature Communications11(1), 1-14.

Axsom, J. E., Nanavati, A. P., Rutishauser, C. A., Bonin, J. E., Moen, J. M., & Lakatta, E. G. (2020). Acclimation to a thermoneutral environment abolishes age-associated alterations in heart rate and heart rate variability in conscious, unrestrained miceGeroScience42(1), 217-232

Gaburro, S., Stiedl, O., Giusti, P., Sartori, S. B., Landgraf, R., & Singewald, N. (2011). A mouse model of high trait anxiety shows reduced heart rate variability that can be reversed by anxiolytic drug treatment. International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology14(10), 1341-1355.

Kobayashi, I., Hatcher, M., Wilson, C., Boadi, L., Poindexter, M., Allard, J. S., & Polston, E. K. (2020). Impacts of sex and the estrous cycle on associations between post-fear conditioning sleep and fear memory recallBehavioural Brain Research378, 112156.

Sgoifo, A., Carnevali, L., Pico Alfonso, M. D. L. A., & Amore, M. (2015). Autonomic dysfunction and heart rate variability in depressionStress18(3), 343-352.

Sousa, V. C., Mantas, I., Stroth, N., Hager, T., Pereira, M., Jiang, H., ... & Svenningsson, P. (2020). P11 deficiency increases stress reactivity along with HPA axis and autonomic hyperresponsivenessMolecular psychiatry, 1-13.

Swiercz, A. P., Seligowski, A. V., Park, J., & Marvar, P. J. (2018). Extinction of fear memory attenuates conditioned cardiovascular fear reactivity. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience12, 276.

Swiercz, A. P., Iyer, L., Yu, Z., Edwards, A., Prashant, N. M., Nguyen, B. N., ... & Marvar, P. J. (2020). Evaluation of an angiotensin Type 1 receptor blocker on the reconsolidation of fear memoryTranslational psychiatry10(1), 1-12.

Wallace, T., Schaeuble, D., Pace, S. A., Schackmuth, M. K., Hentges, S. T., Chicco, A. J., & Myers, B. (2020). Sexually divergent cortical control of affective-autonomic integrationbioRxiv.

Zeredo, J. L., Quah, S. K., Wallis, C. U., Alexander, L., Cockcroft, G. J., Santangelo, A. M., ... & Roberts, A. C. (2019). Glutamate within the marmoset anterior hippocampus interacts with area 25 to regulate the behavioral and cardiovascular correlates of high-trait anxietyJournal of Neuroscience39(16), 3094-3107.