Quinpirole Induces Compulsive Checking Behavior in Rats: A Potential Animal Model of Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

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Rats treated chronically with the dopamine agonist quinpirole (0.5 mg/kg, twice weekly × 10) met 5 criteria for performance of compulsive checking. Specifically, in a large open-field with single small objects in 4 of 25 locales, quinpirole rats revisited two places/objects excessively often and rapidly, compared with other locations in the environment or saline controls. They performed a ritual-like set of behavioral acts at these two places/objects and stopped in relatively few locales before returning to the preferred places/objects. Finally, they shifted their behavior to a new location when the object was moved there. Clomipramine (10 mg/kg, daily) postponed but did not prevent the development of the quinpirole effect. Quinpirole-induced compulsive checking may be an exaggeration of normal checking of home site in rats. Results suggest an animal model of obsessive-compulsive disorder and a role for dopamine in this disorder.

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