Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Biological Science

Advisor/Committee Chair

Annalisa Scimemi

Committee Member

Damian Zuloaga


Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a neuropsychiatric disorder characterized by uncontrollable, intrusive thoughts (obsessions), restlessness, and repetitive behaviors (compulsions). One of the genes associated with OCD encodes the neuronal glutamate transporter EAAC1. EAAC1 is expressed in the striatum, the main input nucleus of the basal ganglia, implicated with reward, which shows patterns of hyperactivity in patients with OCD. What remains unknown is how EAAC1 contributes to the different behavioral abnormalities of OCD. To address this question, we performed a set of behavioral tests in EAAC1-/- mice. Specifically, we asked how the execution of repetitive reward-based behaviors changed in these mice. Our findings show that the propensity to engage in this type of behavior is increased in EAAC1-/- compared to wild type mice and that this is due to an increased activity in neurons within the sensory cortex. Together, these findings indicate that the hyperactivity of striatal circuits might be driven by differences in sensory perception.

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Life Sciences Commons