Chronic inositol increases striatal D(2) receptors but does not modify dexamphetamine-induced motor behavior. Relevance to obsessive-compulsive disorder

Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2001 Feb;68(2):245-53. doi: 10.1016/s0091-3057(00)00459-7.


A large body of evidence suggests that the neuropathology of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) lies in the complex neurotransmitter network of the cortico-striatal-thalamo-cortical (CSTC) circuit, where dopamine (DA), serotonin (5HT), glutamate (Glu), and gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA) dysfunction have been implicated in the disorder. Chronic inositol has been found to be effective in specific disorders that respond to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), including OCD, panic, and depression. This selective mechanism of action is obscure. Since nigro-striatal DA tracts are subject to 5HT(2) heteroreceptor regulation, one possible mechanism of inositol in OCD may involve its effects on inositol-dependent receptors, especially the 5HT(2) receptor, and a resulting effect on DA pathways in the striatum. In order to investigate this possible interaction, we exposed guinea pigs to oral inositol (1.2 g/kg) for 12 weeks. Subsequently, effects on locomotor behavior (LB) and stereotype behavior (SB), together with possible changes to striatal 5HT(2) and D(2) receptor function, were determined. In addition, the effects of chronic inositol on dexamphetamine (DEX)-induced motor behavior were evaluated. Acute DEX (3 mg/kg, ip) induced a significant increase in both SB and LB, while chronic inositol alone did not modify LA or SB. The behavioral response to DEX was also not modified by chronic inositol pretreatment. However, chronic inositol induced a significant increase in striatal D(2) receptor density (B(max)) with a slight, albeit insignificant, increase in 5HT(2) receptor density. This suggests that D(2) receptor upregulation may play an important role in the behavioral effects of inositol although the role of the 5HT(2) receptor in this response is questionable.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Corpus Striatum / drug effects*
  • Corpus Striatum / metabolism
  • Dextroamphetamine / pharmacology*
  • Dopamine Agents / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Inositol / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / drug effects*
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / metabolism
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2 / drug effects*
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2 / metabolism


  • Dopamine Agents
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2
  • Inositol
  • Dextroamphetamine