Rationale: Compulsivity often develops during childhood and is associated with elevated glutamate levels within the frontostriatal system. This suggests that anti-glutamatergic drugs, like memantine, may be an effective treatment. Objective: Our goal was to characterize the acute and chronic effect of memantine treatment on compulsive behavior and frontostriatal network structure and function in an adolescent rat model of compulsivity. Methods: Juvenile Sprague–Dawley rats received repeated quinpirole, resulting in compulsive checking behavior (n = 32; compulsive) or saline injections (n = 32; control). Eight compulsive and control rats received chronic memantine treatment, and eight compulsive and control rats received saline treatment for seven consecutive days between the 10th and 12th quinpirole/saline injection. Compulsive checking behavior was assessed, and structural and functional brain connectivity was measured with diffusion MRI and resting-state fMRI before and after treatment. The other rats received an acute single memantine (compulsive: n = 12; control: n = 12) or saline injection (compulsive: n = 4; control: n = 4) during pharmacological MRI after the 12th quinpirole/saline injection. An additional group of rats received a single memantine injection after a single quinpirole injection (n = 8). Results: Memantine treatment did not affect compulsive checking nor frontostriatal structural and functional connectivity in the quinpirole-induced adolescent rat model. While memantine activated the frontal cortex in control rats, no significant activation responses were measured after single or repeated quinpirole injections. Conclusions: The lack of a memantine treatment effect in quinpirole-induced compulsive adolescent rats may be partly explained by the interaction between glutamatergic and dopaminergic receptors in the brain, which can be evaluated with functional MRI.
- Compulsive behavior
- Diffusion magnetic resonance imaging
- Frontostriatal circuitry
- Functional magnetic resonance imaging
- NMDA antagonist