The signal attenuation rat model of obsessive-compulsive disorder: a review

Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2006 Jul;186(4):487-503. doi: 10.1007/s00213-006-0387-2.


During the last 30 years, there have been many attempts to develop animal models of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), in the hope that they may provide a route for furthering our understanding and treatment of this disorder. The present paper reviews a recently developed rat model of OCD, namely, signal attenuation. Results of pharmacological and lesion studies are presented and evaluated with respect to the pharmacology and pathophysiology of OCD. It is argued that signal attenuation is a rat model of OCD with construct (derived from similarity in the underlying mechanisms), predictive (derived from similarity in response to treatment), and face (derived from phenomenological similarity between "compulsive" behavior in the model and compulsions in OCD patients) validity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / pharmacology
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects*
  • Conditioning, Operant / drug effects
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dopamine Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Extinction, Psychological / drug effects*
  • Frontal Lobe / drug effects
  • Frontal Lobe / physiopathology
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / drug therapy
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / physiopathology*
  • Psychotropic Drugs / pharmacology*
  • Psychotropic Drugs / therapeutic use
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Dopamine D1 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors / pharmacology


  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Dopamine Antagonists
  • Psychotropic Drugs
  • Receptors, Dopamine D1
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors