Medial frontal and dorsal cortical morphometric abnormalities are related to obsessive-compulsive disorder

Neurosci Lett. 2009 Oct 16;464(1):62-6. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2009.08.012. Epub 2009 Aug 8.


Whole-brain voxel-based morphometry (VBM) studies provide support for orbitofrontal, medial frontal as well as for dorsal cortical volumetric alteration in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). However, there is still a need to replicate a priori unpredicted findings and to elucidate white matter volumetric abnormalities and relationships between grey (GM) and white (WM) matter volume and clinical characteristics of OCD. We compared GM and WM volume in a group of 14 patients with OCD and 15 healthy controls using a 3T MRI scanner and an optimized VBM protocol. Regression analysis was used to examine relationships between GM and WM volume and clinical variables. In OCD we have found total WM volume reduction and marked mediofrontal, right temporo-parieto-occipital, right precentral, left middle temporal, left cerebellar and bilateral pons and mesencephalon GM volume reduction in the voxel-based analysis (p<or=0.05, FDR corrected, extent threshold 100 voxels). Regression analysis indicated a positive relationship between left orbitofrontal GM volume and severity of obsessive-compulsive symptoms and a negative relationship between symptom severity and GM volume in supramarginal gyri. Earlier age of OCD onset and longer illness duration were associated with smaller left occipital GM and right parietal WM and with greater left medial frontal GM and left frontal WM (p <or=0.001, uncorrected, extent threshold 50 voxels). Our results confirm volumetric abnormalities in the medial frontal and dorsal cortical areas in OCD. The relationships between OCD and clinical variables provide further evidence that frontal, parietal and occipital structures play a role in the disorder.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Cerebral Cortex / abnormalities*
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / abnormalities
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / pathology*
  • Severity of Illness Index