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A cross-species assessment of behavioral flexibility in compulsive disorders

Benzina, Nabil
N'Diaye, Karim
Pelissolo, Antoine
Burguière, Eric
Published in Communications biology. 2021, vol. 4, no. 1, 96
Abstract Lack of behavioral flexibility has been proposed as one underlying cause of compulsions, defined as repetitive behaviors performed through rigid rituals. However, experimental evidence has proven inconsistent across human and animal models of compulsive-like behavior. In the present study, applying a similarly-designed reversal learning task in two different species, which share a common symptom of compulsivity (human OCD patients and Sapap3 KO mice), we found no consistent link between compulsive behaviors and lack of behavioral flexibility. However, we showed that a distinct subgroup of compulsive individuals of both species exhibit a behavioral flexibility deficit in reversal learning. This deficit was not due to perseverative, rigid behaviors as commonly hypothesized, but rather due to an increase in response lability. These cross-species results highlight the necessity to consider the heterogeneity of cognitive deficits in compulsive disorders and call for reconsidering the role of behavioral flexibility in the aetiology of compulsive behaviors.
Keywords Cognitive neuroscienceObsessive compulsive disorder
PMID: 33479495
PMCID: PMC7820021
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Research group Médecine psychosomatique, neurosciences cliniques et mindfulness (690)
Agence Nationale de la Recherche: ANR-13-SAMA-0013-01_HYPSY
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BENZINA, Nabil et al. A cross-species assessment of behavioral flexibility in compulsive disorders. In: Communications biology, 2021, vol. 4, n° 1, p. 96. doi: 10.1038/s42003-020-01611-y https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:159124

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Deposited on : 2022-02-22

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