Background: High-frequency bilateral subthalamic nucleus (STN) deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a promising treatment in refractory obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Method: Using the crossover, randomized, and double-blind procedure adopted by the STOC study, 10 patients treated with high-frequency bilateral STN DBS underwent am 18-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (PET) investigation to highlight the neural substratum of this therapeutic approach.
Results: The median Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS) scores for all 10 patients were 31 (minimum = 18, maximum = 36) with "Off-Stimulation" status and 19 (minimum = 0, maximum = 30) with "On-Stimulation" status (p = .05). The OCD patients in Off-Stimulation status showed a hypermetabolism in the right frontal middle and superior gyri, right parietal lobe, postcentral gyrus, and bilateral putamen compared with healthy control subjects. A significant decrease in cerebral metabolism was observed in the left cingulate gyrus and the left frontal medial gyrus in On-Stimulation conditions compared with Off-Stimulation conditions. In addition, the improvement assessed by Y-BOCS scores during the On-Stimulation conditions was positively correlated with PET signal changes at the boundary of the orbitofrontal cortex and the medial prefrontal cortex, between PET signal changes and the Y-BOCS scores modifications in On-Stimulation status.
Conclusion: This study suggests that the therapeutic effect of STN DBS is related to a decrease in prefrontal cortex metabolism.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00169377.
Copyright © 2010 Society of Biological Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.