Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mice give new clues to origins of obsessive-compulsive disorder

Date:
June 10, 2013
Source:
Columbia University Medical Center
Summary:
Researchers have identified what they think may be a mechanism underlying the development of compulsive behaviors. The finding suggests possible approaches to treating or preventing certain characteristics of OCD.

Using a new technology in a mouse model, the researchers found that repeated stimulation of specific circuits linking the brain's cortex and striatum produces progressive repetitive behavior.
Credit: Image courtesy of Columbia University Medical Center

Columbia Psychiatry researchers have identified what they think may be a mechanism underlying the development of compulsive behaviors. The finding suggests possible approaches to treating or preventing certain characteristics of OCD.

OCD consists of obsessions, which are recurrent intrusive thoughts, and compulsions, which are repetitive behaviors that patients perform to reduce the severe anxiety associated with the obsessions. The disorder affects 2-3 percent of people worldwide and is an important cause of illness-related disability, according to the World Health Organization.

Using a new technology in a mouse model, the researchers found that repeated stimulation of specific circuits linking the brain's cortex and striatum produces progressive repetitive behavior. By targeting this region, it may be possible to stop abnormal circuit changes before they become pathological behaviors in people at risk for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The study, which was led by Susanne Ahmari, MD, PhD, assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia Psychiatry and the New York State Psychiatric Institute, was published in the June 7 issue of Science.

While the obsessions and compulsions that are the hallmarks of OCD are thought to be centered in the cortex, which controls thoughts, and the striatum, which controls movements, little is known about how abnormalities in these brain regions lead to compulsive behaviors in patients.

To simulate the increased activity that takes place in the brains of OCD patients, Dr. Ahmari and her colleagues used a new technology called optogenetics, in which light-activated ion channels are expressed in subsets of neurons in mice, and neural circuits are then selectively activated using light delivered through fiberoptic probes.

"What we found was really surprising," said Dr. Ahmari. "That activation of cortico-striatal circuits did not lead directly to repetitive behaviors in the mice. But if we repeatedly stimulated for multiple days in a row for only five minutes a day, we saw a progressive development of repetitive behaviors -- in this case, repetitive grooming behavior -- that persisted up to two weeks after the stimulation was stopped."

She added, "And not only that, when we treated the mice with fluoxetine, one of the most common medications used for OCD, their behavior went back to normal." The current study, as well as others currently being performed by Dr. Ahmari and her team, may ultimately provide clues for new treatment targets in terms of both novel drug development and direct stimulation techniques, including deep brain stimulation (DBS).

The study was supported by grants from NIMH (K08MH087718; K24 MH091555), the Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. Scholars Program, the Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, the Gray Matters Foundation, the Leon Levy Foundation, and a NARSAD Young Investigator Award.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Columbia University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S. E. Ahmari, T. Spellman, N. L. Douglass, M. A. Kheirbek, H. B. Simpson, K. Deisseroth, J. A. Gordon, R. Hen. Repeated Cortico-Striatal Stimulation Generates Persistent OCD-Like Behavior. Science, 2013; 340 (6137): 1234 DOI: 10.1126/science.1234733

Cite This Page:

Columbia University Medical Center. "Mice give new clues to origins of obsessive-compulsive disorder." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 June 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130610095150.htm>.
Columbia University Medical Center. (2013, June 10). Mice give new clues to origins of obsessive-compulsive disorder. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130610095150.htm
Columbia University Medical Center. "Mice give new clues to origins of obsessive-compulsive disorder." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130610095150.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Scientists say a female colossal squid weighing an estimated 350 kilograms (770 lbs) and thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Since the arrival of Ebola in Ivory Coast, Ivorians have been abandoning their pets, particularly monkeys, in the fear that they may transmit the virus. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins