Volumetric MRI study of key brain regions implicated in obsessive-compulsive disorder

Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2007 Jan 30;31(1):46-52. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2006.06.008. Epub 2006 Jul 20.


Neuroanatomic abnormalities have been implicated in the pathophysiology of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). To date, no study has measured the orbito-frontal cortex (OFC), anterior cingulate, caudate nucleus, and thalamus concurrently in first-episode patients. Thus, we performed a volumetric MRI study in patients who were treatment-naive and healthy controls focusing on the in vivo neuroanatomy of the whole brain, total gray and white matter volume, thalamus, caudate nucleus, anterior cingulate cortex, and OFC concurrently. The volumes of thalamus, caudate nucleus, anterior cingulate cortex, and OFC were measured in 12 OCD patients who were treatment-naive and 12 healthy control subjects. Anterior cingulate and OFC volumes included both white and gray matters. Volumetric measurements were made with T1-weighted coronal MRI images, with 1.5-mm-thick slices, at 1.5 T. The patients had increased white matter volume than healthy controls. The patient group had significantly smaller left and right OFC volumes and significantly greater left and right thalamus volumes compared with healthy controls. Anterior cingulate exhibited a near-significant difference between the patients and healthy controls on left side. Significant correlations were found between Y-BOCS scores and left OFC, and right OFC, and between Y-BOCS and left thalamus volumes in the patient group. In conclusion, our findings suggest that abnormalities in these areas may play an important role in the pathophysiology of OCD.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / pathology*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales