The genes responsible for impulsive behavior in dogs bear a strong similarity to those that cause OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) in humans.
The authors of the finding, a group of researchers from theTufts university, in Medford, have managed to identify the genetic routes that promote canine obsessive-compulsive behaviors, specifically in dogs of the dberman breed. These routes appear to be the same ones implicated in the human form of the disorder, which has sparked enormous interest from the pharmaceutical market, in which better treatments and therapies could be developed.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (known by its acronym as OCD), whose main symptoms include a continuous feeling of anguish and repetitive behaviorslong-lasting, is one of the neuropsychiatric disorders more frequent than they exist, and affects about 3% of the world population. However, despite their prevalence, currently available treatments have only been found to be effective in half of human patients.
Dogs also suffer anxiety
Like human beings who suffer from these obsessive-compulsive behaviors, some dogs exhibit repetitive and impulsive behaviors, such as chasing the tail, turning on themselves, continuously barking, chewing or licking an object or part of the body for long periods of time.
However, unlike the OCD of people, obsessive thoughts are not associated with the canine mind, since we cannot know what they think. But the connection between both diseases it is still more than evident to consider the dog as a good model animal with which to work in the search for new drugs (both for the human and canine species).
Much more than a manic behavior
The team identified three key factors on chromosomes most strongly correlated with severe canine compulsive disorder. First, one of the chromosomes in question was located in a region containing the genes of the serotonin receptor, which would further narrow the relationship of the disease between the two species, since most of the current treatments for OCD in humans consist of drugs that act on the neurotransmitter serotonin.
A second chromosome of the three recognized is found associated with a increased risk of schizophrenia and the third one turned out to be linked with the stress tolerance, which could point to the psychological foundations of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
If the idea that genes involved in canine impulsive behavior are equivalent to those that cause OCD in people becomes fully accepted by other researchers, our hypothesis could explain the exact cause of this disease and in turn all the biological pathways involved in it, and thus point out the path to new and more effective treatments,says Nicholas Dodman, an expert in animal behavior and chief director of the study.
It seems that we are close to finding the solution for one of the disorders that most conditions the way of life of these species, beyond the obsession with order or rubber toys.
Source | Tufts University