A recent study published in Cell magazine has shown that mice who exhibit “excessive grooming behavior,” which is analogous to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in humans (OCD), can be cured by a bone marrow transplant. The disorder was linked to deficient immune microglia cells, the street-cleaners of the body (they clear-up cluttery microbes and broken down cellular byproducts). Healthy-mouse bone marrow was transferred to the OCD mice and within four months they returned to normal grooming patterns. The gene responsible for healthy microglia – Hox8 – is a vital developmental gene, and it’s connections to observable behavioral patterns, like OCD, are intriguing and will certainly inspire further research.
Audio from the Authors: Pathological Grooming in Mutant Mice