[Neuroimaging and the neurobiology of obsessive-compulsive disorder]

Psychother Psychosom Med Psychol. Sep-Oct 2007;57(9-10):379-94. doi: 10.1055/s-2006-952021.
[Article in German]


The following review is focusing on results of functional neuroimaging. After some introductory remarks on the phenomenology, epidemiology, and psychotherapy approaches of obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD) the most important OCD-related brain regions are presented. Obviously, not only the prominent cortico-striato-thalamo-cortical feedback loops are involved, as functional brain imaging studies tell us, but also other regions as the inferior parietal lobe, the anterior and posterior cingulate gyrus, insula, amygdala, cerebellum, and others. Subclassifications using factor-analysis methods support the hypothesis, that most important subtypes ("washing/contamination fear", "obsessions/checking", "symmetry/ordering", "hoarding") involve different, but partially overlapping brain areas. Stimulation paradigms in fMRI-research are commonly based on symptom provocation by visual or tactile stimuli, or on action-monitoring and error-monitoring tasks. Deficits in action-monitoring and planning are discussed to be one of the basic dysfunctions of OCD. Finally, results of psychotherapeutic induced variations of brain activations in OCD are presented.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / pathology*
  • Diagnostic Imaging*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / pathology*
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / physiopathology
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / psychology
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / therapy