Rationale: Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by recurrent unwanted thoughts (obsessions), usually accompanied by repetitive behaviors (compulsions) intended to alleviate anxiety. Marble-burying behavior is a pharmacological model for study of OCD. Objectives: In the present study, we examined the effects of mood stabilizers on marble-burying behavior in mice, as well as the role of GABA receptors in this behavior. Methods: The effects of treatment with valproate, carbamazepine, lithium carbonate, lamotrigine, muscimol and baclofen on marble-burying behavior in mice were evaluated. Results: Valproate (10, 30 and 100 mg/kg, i.p.) and carbamazepine (30 and 100 mg/kg, p.o.) significantly reduced marble-burying behavior without affecting total locomotor activity in ICR mice. Lamotrigine (30 mg/kg, i.p.) also significantly reduced marble-burying behavior in ddY mice. On the other hand, lithium carbonate (10, 30 and 100 mg/kg, i.p.) reduced total locomotor activity without affecting marble-burying behavior in ddY mice. The selective GABA A receptor agonist muscimol (1 mg/kg) significantly reduced marble-burying behavior without affecting total locomotor activity, whereas the selective GABAB receptor agonist baclofen (3 mg/kg) reduced total locomotor activity without affecting marble-burying behavior. Moreover, the selective GABAA receptor antagonist bicuculline (3 mg/kg) significantly counteracted the decrease in marble-burying induced by the administration of muscimol (1 mg/kg) and valproate (100 mg/kg). Conclusions: These results suggest that GABAergic mechanism is involved in marble-burying behavior, and that valproate, carbamazepine and lamotrigine reduce marble-burying behavior. Moreover, valproate reduces marble-burying behavior via a GABAA receptor-dependent mechanism.
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