Study: OCD in Mice Caused by a Single Gene

NEW YORK, April 29 (UPI) — Weill Cornell Medical College researchers say they have determined a single gene is responsible for obsessive-compulsive disorder behaviors in mice.

The scientists at the college’s Ansary Stem Cell Institute and department of psychiatry said they discovered mice with a gene called Slitrk5 developed repetitive obsessive-compulsive-like behaviors.

“Overall, our data suggest that Slitrk5 may have a central role in the development of the core symptoms of OCD — self-injurious, repetitive behavior and increased anxiety,” said Drs. Shahin Rafii and Francis Lee. “Very few psychiatric disorders have been linked to a single gene, and it will be important to find out if patients with the disorder have an alteration of Slitrk5.”

Rafii is director of the stem cell institute and Lee is an associate professor at the college.

“This work is an unexpected off-shoot from stem cell science into the realm of psychiatry, and could potentially have major application for treatment of neuropsychiatric diseases,” Rafii said.

The research that included scientists from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; the Institute Gulbenkian de Cirncia in Oeiras, Portugal; Regeneron Pharmaceuticals; and New York University’s Langone Medical Center appears in the early online edition of the journal Nature Medicine.

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