White matter abnormalities in drug-naïve patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder: a diffusion tensor study before and after citalopram treatment

Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2007 Sep;116(3):211-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.2007.01046.x.


Objective: The aim was to investigate the white matter abnormalities of drug-naïve patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) using diffusion tensor-imaging and the white matter changes in the patients after pharmacotherapy.

Method: Thirteen drug-naïve OCD patients and 13 age- and sex-matched healthy comparison subjects were examined using diffusion tensor-imaging and structural magnetic resonance imaging. Measurements were made in OCD patients before and after 12 weeks of citalopram treatment.

Results: Compared with controls, the drug-naïve OCD patients showed significant increases in fractional anisotropy (FA) in the corpus callosum, the internal capsule and white matter in the area superolateral to the right caudate. The increases in FA were mostly no longer observed in patients after 12 weeks of treatment compared with controls.

Conclusion: Our findings suggest that white matter alterations are associated with the pathophysiology of OCD, and the abnormalities may be partly reversible with pharmacotherapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anisotropy
  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation / adverse effects
  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation / therapeutic use*
  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Caudate Nucleus / drug effects
  • Caudate Nucleus / pathology
  • Cerebral Cortex / drug effects
  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology
  • Citalopram / adverse effects
  • Citalopram / therapeutic use*
  • Corpus Callosum / drug effects
  • Corpus Callosum / pathology
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Dominance, Cerebral / physiology
  • Female
  • Fourier Analysis
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted*
  • Internal Capsule / drug effects
  • Internal Capsule / pathology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Nerve Fibers, Myelinated / drug effects*
  • Nerve Fibers, Myelinated / pathology
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Thalamus / drug effects
  • Thalamus / pathology


  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation
  • Citalopram