Error-related hyperactivity of the anterior cingulate cortex in obsessive-compulsive disorder

Biol Psychiatry. 2005 Feb 1;57(3):287-94. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2004.10.038.


Background: Hyperactivity of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has been shown to increase with symptom provocation and to normalize with treatment-induced symptom reduction. Although the functional significance of anterior cingulate involvement in OCD remains unknown, electrophysiological evidence has linked this region to error-processing abnormalities in patients with OCD. In this functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study, we sought to further localize error-processing differences within the ACC of OCD patients compared with healthy subjects.

Methods: Event-related fMRI data were collected for eight OCD patients and seven healthy subjects during the performance of a simple cognitive task designed to elicit errors but not OCD symptoms.

Results: Both OCD patients and healthy subjects demonstrated dorsal ACC activation during error commission. The OCD patients exhibited significantly greater error-related activation of the rostral ACC than comparison subjects. Activity in this region was positively correlated with symptom severity in the patients.

Conclusions: Error-processing abnormalities within the rostral anterior cingulate occur in the absence of symptom expression in patients with OCD.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Gyrus Cinguli / blood supply
  • Gyrus Cinguli / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Hyperkinesis / physiopathology*
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Linear Models
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / physiopathology*
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*


  • Oxygen