Obsessive Compulsive Disorder dogs serve as model for the disorder in humans

Published: 2014-02-19


Researchers at SciLifeLab have identified four genes connected to obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) in dogs. The results, which will be published in the next issue of Genome Biology, could introduce new paths for research into human OCD.

 

OCD affects around 1-3% of the human population and is even more common in certain dog breeds. Just as with humans the disease leads to a repetitive behavior. In dogs, these behaviors normally involve constant grooming, repeatedly chasing their own tails or shadows or sucking on a blanket.

Mouse models of OCD already exist, but this study is performed on dogs since their symptoms are similar to those of humans. And, like in humans, SSRI or clomipramine antidepressants can relieve symptoms.

– The similarities between OCD in dogs and humans are fascinating, therefore we designed our study to take advantage of these similarities and at the same time benefit from the fact that it is much easier to locate OCD genes in dogs, said Kerstin Lindblad-Toh, Co-Director SciLifeLab and corresponding author of the article.

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