Translational approach to studying compulsive behaviors: Promise and limitations of animal models in psychiatry
Our research group has a translational approach, which aim at studying the neurophysiological and behavioral aspects of repetitive behaviors in human and mouse models. We are especially interested in studying how cortico-basal ganglia loops underlie the regulation of these processes in animal models (e.g. SAPAP3-KO mice) and patients (e.g. obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD), Tourette) suffering from pathological repetitive behaviors. Indeed, repetitive behaviors are the hallmark of these neuropsychiatric disorders, which offer a unique opportunity to explore the neurobiological mechanism underlying their regulation.
We aim at probing these neural circuits by using neurophysiological recording and/or modulating their activity with electric or optogenetic neuromodulation. This translational approach is especially promising for better understanding the behavioral dimension and neurophysiological substrates underlying repetitive behaviours, but also to develop innovative therapeutic strategies based on invasive neurostimulation or targeted pharmacological intervention.
Eric Burguière, PhD, leads the “Neurophysiology of Repetitive Behaviors (NERB)” research group situated at the Paris Brain Institute, accessible at https://nerb.team/. The research group developped a transversal approach using animal models in complement with clinical work..
Eric Burguière has been trained as a neurophysiologist specialized in behavior, neuronal recording and chemo/optogenetic approaches with rodent models. Along his scientific career he specialized in developing innovative paradigms to study behavioural adaptation and regulation. He studied mouse models of disorders of motor and cognitive functions. Importantly, he became an expert in pathophysiology of repetitive behaviors, notably with some recent work on compulsive behaviors of a mouse model of OCD-spectrum disorder (Burguière et al., Science 2013).
Recently, Eric Burguière developed with his research group some innovative approaches that they can modulate specific brain activities in a closed-loop design, either at rest or within a task (Mondragon, Schreiweis, Burguière, BioRxiv, 2022). They developed innovative operant chambers where mice are performing complex cognitive tasks while their social, circadian and cognitive behaviours are monitored automatically and continuously using multiple sensors (Benzina et al., 2021).