More than 40% of patients with obsessive compulsive disorders (OCD) are resistant to treatment. Untreated OCD is highly disabling and costy for society, yet advancement in treatment options are almost on a standstill. Studies show that the functional connectivity between cortical and striatal brain regions are altered in patients with OCD, and that these changes can lead to compulsive behaviors. However, we do not fully understand the underlying neuronal dysfunctions. In this project, we use chemogenetics to selectively activate cortical inputs to the striatum, creating an animal model of OCD-like compulsive behavior. We will investigate how activation of these inputs alter functional connectivity and OCD-like compulsive behavior, and the effectiveness of a novel serotonergic drug treatment. This is a high-risk/high-gain project with great clinical translational value and potential to redefine our understanding and treatment of OCD, which will ultimately benefit patients.

The project runs from 2021-2024, by Associate Professor Mikael Palner and is a collaboration between NRU and SDU/OUH.