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New model for treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder created
Date:9/15/2011

s to begin.

"OCD is very mysterious and very prevalent," Shanahan said. "The development of OCD-specific treatments will be an extremely important step toward helping these people and preventing the disorder's cost to society."

With an animal model that replicates at least some aspects of OCD, researchers can dig deeper into the specific neurotransmitters and systems involved in the disorder. In Dulawa's laboratory, a team led by Shanahan found inspiration in a drug that activates the 1b class of receptors for the neurotransmitter serotonin. Clinically, the drug is used to treat migraines, but it is also known to have the unintended effect of increasing anxiety and compulsions in people with OCD.

When the drug was given to mice, they showed highly repetitive patterns of locomotion when placed into an open arena. The drug-treated mice also exhibited deficits in prepulse inhibition, a form of startle plasticity thought to measure the brain's ability to filter out intrusive thoughts, which plague OCD patients.

To determine whether these drug-induced behaviors reflected the neurobiology of OCD, the researchers tested the same drugs used to treat the disorder in humans. After four weeks of pre-treatment with SRIs the same duration required to see therapeutic effects in humans drug-induced OCD behaviors were reduced in the mice. Shorter SRI treatment or treatment with other antidepressant drugs that do not work in humans with OCD were unsuccessful in reducing the behaviors caused by the drug.

"We have this time course that nicely parallels or mimics the human therapeutic response," Shanahan said. "In order to study how these drugs are working and the pathophysiology of the disorder, we need a model where this delayed onset exists. So we are really excited about that."

The researchers then looked for a specific brain region where activation of 1b serotonin receptors creates OCD-like symptoms. In humans, scientists ha
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Contact: Robert Mitcum
robert.mitchum@uchospitals.edu
773-795-5227
University of Chicago Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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