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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: SAFEGUARDING WELL-BEING OF FOOD PRODUCING ANIMALS Title: Nutraceutical up-regulation of serotonin paradoxically induces compulsive behavior

Authors
item Dufour, B - PURDUE UNIVERSITY
item Adeola, O - PURDUE UNIVERSITY
item Cheng, Heng Wei
item Donkin, S - PURDUE UNIVERSITY
item Klein, J - PURDUE UNIVERSITY
item Pajor, E - PURDUE UNIVERSITY
item Garner, J - PURDUE UNIVERSITY

Submitted to: Nutritional Neuroscience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 18, 2010
Publication Date: December 1, 2010
Citation: Dufour, B.D., Adeola, O., Cheng, H., Donkin, S., Klein, J.D., Pajor, E.A., Garner, J.P. 2010. Nutraceutical up-regulation of serotonin paradoxically induces compulsive behavior. Nutritional Neuroscience. 13:256-264.

Interpretive Summary: The content of animal diets can influence brain chemistry, and thereby affect an animal's behavior. The data showed that dietary up-regulation of brain serotonin in mice exacerbates compulsive hair plucking and robustly induces self-injurious scratching, which resembles skin picking disorder in humans. Based on the results, a future study is needed to examine if a similar cellular mechanism is associated with feather pecking in chickens. Feather pecking is a serious well-being problem in poultry. In addition, the data will assist other scientists when planning and conducting their studies to investigate the cellular and molecular mechanisms which underlie aggression and its associated stress in other animals.

Technical Abstract: The role of diet in either the etiology or treatment of complex mental disorder is highly controversial in psychiatry. However, physiological mechanisms by which diet can influence brain chemistry – particularly that of serotonin – are well established. Here we show that dietary up-regulation of brain serotonin metabolism in a mouse model of Trichotillomania exacerbates compulsive hair plucking and robustly induces self-injurious scratching, which resembles human skin picking disorder. To our knowledge, these data represent the first demonstration that diet can trigger the onset of a complex disorder in the absence of an underlying metabolic deficit.

Last Modified: 11/21/2014
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