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Hyperactivity of indirect pathway-projecting spiny projection neurons drives compulsive behavior

Authors: Sean C Piantadosi, Elizabeth E Manning, Brittany L Chamberlain, James Hyde, Zoe LaPalombara, Nicholas M Bannon, Jamie L Pierson, Vijay MK Namboodiri, Susanne E Ahmari
Publication: bioRxiv
Date: February 18, 2022
Link to article: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2022.02.17.480966v1


Compulsive behaviors are a hallmark symptom of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Striatal hyperactivity has been linked to compulsive behavior generation in correlative studies in humans and causal studies in rodents. However, the contribution of the two distinct striatal output populations to the generation and treatment of compulsive behavior is unknown. These populations of direct and indirect pathway-projecting spiny projection neurons (SPNs) have classically been thought to promote or suppress actions, respectively, leading to a long-held hypothesis that increased output of direct relative to indirect pathway promotes compulsive behavior. Contrary to this hypothesis, here we find that indirect pathway hyperactivity drives compulsive grooming in the Sapap3-knockout mouse model of OCD-relevant behavior. Furthermore, we show that suppression of indirect pathway activity using optogenetics or treatment with the first-line OCD pharmacotherapy fluoxetine is associated with reduced compulsive behavior. Together, these findings highlight the striatal indirect pathway as a potential new treatment target for compulsive behavior.

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