Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a psychiatric disorder characterized by recurring intrusive thoughts and repetitive compulsive behaviors, ultimately interfering with their quality of life. The complex heterogeneity of symptom dimensions across OCD patient subgroups impedes diagnosis and treatment. The core and comorbid symptomologies of OCD are thought to be modulated by common environmental exposures such as consumption of the psychostimulant caffeine. The effect of caffeine on the expression of obsessions and compulsions are unexplored. The current study utilized mouse strains (HA) with a spontaneous, predictable, and stable compulsive-like phenotype that have face, predictive, and construct validity for OCD. We demonstrate that an acute high dose (25 mg/kg) of caffeine decreased compulsive-like nest-building behavior in the HA strains in the first hour after injection. However, nest-building scores increased in hours 3, 4, and 5 after administration finally decreasing over a 24 h period. In contrast, a high dose of chronic caffeine (25 mg/kg/d) increased nest-building behavior. Interestingly for compulsive-like digging behavior, acute exposure to a high dose of caffeine decreased the number of marbles buried, while chronic exposure had little effect. An acute high dose of caffeine decreased anxiety-like and motor activity in open field behaviors whereas chronic caffeine administration did not have any overall effect on open field activity. The results, therefore, suggest a complex role of caffeine on compulsive-like, anxiety-like, and locomotor behaviors that is dependent on the duration of exposure.
- obsessive-compulsive disorder