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Elevated Brain Serotonin Levels Induce Compulsive Behavior In Mice

December 1, 2010: 11:57 AM EST

Diets that raise brain serotonin levels increased hair pulling and caused ulcerative dermatitis (UD) in mice, according to results of a double-blind crossover trial conducted by researchers from Purdue University’s Department of Animal Sciences. The researchers also fed the diet developed for the study, which was designed to test whether it would lower the rates of hair pulling in a mouse model of trichotillomania, to a second group of mice to determine whether behavior plays an essential role in emergence of UD. Presence of high levels of scratching behavior and low barbering before diet feeding predicted UD emergence. This shows that diet can cause the start of complex disorders without any underlying metabolic deficit.

Brett D. Dufour, Olayiwola Adeola, Heng-Wei Cheng, Shawn S. Donkin, Jon D. Klein, Edmond A. Pajor, Joseph P. Garner, "Nutritional up-regulation of serotonin paradoxically induces compulsive behavior", Nutritional Neuroscience, December 01, 2010, © Maney Publishing
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