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Mice helped scientists discover a potential link to OCD

Behavioral Instruments

Levels of histamine, a chemical produced by the body's immune system, in certain parts of the brain could regulate disorders like Tourette's Syndrome and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), a new study in mice finds.

  • What it means: If it is confirmed that boosting histamine in a certain part of the brain (known as the dorsal striatum) reduces compulsive, repetitive behavior, it could eventually lead to treatments for such brain disorders.
  • What we already knew: Previous studies revealed mice with a mutation in genes responsible for synthesizing histamine in the brain were prone to repetitive behavior like excessive grooming but it was unclear how and why.
  • What they did this time: Researchers deprived the mice of histamine in the dorsal striatum area and found they began grooming themselves excessively, behavior analogous to OCD in humans.