An increase in the ratio of cellular excitation to inhibition (E/I ratio) has been proposed to underlie the pathogenesis of neuropsychiatric disorders, such as autism spectrum disorders (ASD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and Tourette's syndrome (TS). A proper E/I ratio is achieved via factors expressed in neuron and glia. In astrocytes, the glutamate transporter GLT1 is critical for regulating an E/I ratio. However, the role of GLT1 dysfunction in the pathogenesis of neuropsychiatric disorders remains unknown because mice with a complete deficiency of GLT1 exhibited seizures and premature death. Here, we show that astrocyte-specific GLT1 inducible knockout (GLASTCreERT2/+ /GLT1flox/flox, iKO) mice exhibit pathological repetitive behaviors including excessive and injurious levels of self-grooming and tic-like head shakes. Electrophysiological studies reveal that excitatory transmission at corticostriatal synapse is normal in a basal state but is increased after repetitive stimulation. Furthermore, treatment with an N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist memantine ameliorated the pathological repetitive behaviors in iKO mice. These results suggest that astroglial GLT1 has a critical role in controlling the synaptic efficacy at corticostriatal synapses and its dysfunction causes pathological repetitive behaviors.
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