According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 1 in 3 people experience debilitating anxiety–the kind that prevents someone from going about their normal life. Women are also more at risk to suffer from anxiety. Yet the roots of anxiety and other anxiety-related diseases, such as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), are still unclear. In a new study, University of Utah scientists discovered a new lineage of specialized brain cells, called Hoxb8-lineage microglia, and established a link between the lineage and OCD and anxiety in mice.
Mice with disabled Hoxb8-lineage microglia exhibited excessive overgrooming behavior. The symptom resembles behavior in humans with a type of OCD called trichotillomania, a disorder that causes people to obsessively pluck out their own hair. Their experiments proved that Hoxb8-lineage microglia prevent mice from displaying OCD behaviors. Additionally, they found that female sex hormones caused more severe OCD behaviors and induced added anxiety in the mice.
More from News: