Gene mutations in brain linked to OCD-like behavior

Researchers provide further evidence of how gene mutations in a certain brain region might fuel behaviors associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder. The findings could pave the way for new treatments for the condition.
Researchers reveal how certain gene mutations in the corticostriatal brain region might play a role in OCD-like behavior.


Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a condition characterized by uncontrollable thoughts, obsessions, and compulsions.


Obsessions include repetitive thoughts or mental images that trigger anxiety, while compulsions refer to the urge to repeat certain behaviors in response to obsessions. Common examples of compulsions include excessive hand-washing, arranging items in a particular way, and compulsive counting.


OCD is estimated to affect around 1 percent of adults in the United States. Of these adults, 50 percent have severe OCD, which can significantly interfere with daily life.


While the precise causes of OCD are unclear, previous studies have suggested that the disorder may be caused by specific gene mutations.


In the new study, researchers from Northwestern University in Chicago, IL, have pinpointed gene mutations in the corticostriatal region of the brain that led to OCD-like behaviors in mice.


Lead author Anis Contractor, associate professor of physiology at Feinberg School of Medicine, and colleagues recently reported their findings in the journal Cell Reports.

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