Integrating evidence from neuroimaging and neuropsychological studies of obsessive-compulsive disorder: the orbitofronto-striatal model revisited

Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2008;32(3):525-49. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2007.09.005. Epub 2007 Oct 17.


Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a common, heritable and disabling neuropsychiatric disorder. Theoretical models suggest that OCD is underpinned by functional and structural abnormalities in orbitofronto-striatal circuits. Evidence from cognitive and neuroimaging studies (functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET)) have generally been taken to be supportive of these theoretical models; however, results from these studies have not been entirely congruent with each other. With the advent of whole brain-based structural imaging techniques, such as voxel-based morphometry and multivoxel analyses, we consider it timely to assess neuroimaging findings to date, and to examine their compatibility with cognitive studies and orbitofronto-striatal models. As part of this assessment, we performed a quantitative, voxel-level meta-analysis of functional MRI findings, which revealed consistent abnormalities in orbitofronto-striatal and other additional areas in OCD. This review also considers the evidence for involvement of other brain areas outside orbitofronto-striatal regions in OCD, the limitations of current imaging techniques, and how future developments in imaging may aid our understanding of OCD.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Frontal Lobe / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Models, Neurological
  • Neostriatum / physiopathology*
  • Neural Inhibition
  • Neural Pathways / physiopathology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / physiopathology*