Corticostriatal functional connectivity in non-medicated patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder

Eur Psychiatry. 2011 Oct;26(7):463-9. doi: 10.1016/j.eurpsy.2010.09.005. Epub 2010 Nov 9.


The basal ganglia represents a key component of the pathophysiological model for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). This brain region is part of several neural circuits, including the orbitofronto-striatal circuit and dorsolateral prefronto-striatal circuit. There are, however, no published studies investigating those circuits at a network level in non-medicated patients with OCD. Resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging scans were obtained from 20 non-medicated patients with OCD and 23 matched healthy volunteers. Voxelwise statistical parametric maps testing strength of functional connectivity of three striatal seed regions of interest (ROIs) with remaining brain regions were calculated and compared between groups. We performed additional correlation analyses between strength of connectivity and the severity scores for obsessive-compulsive symptoms, depression, and anxiety in the OCD group. Positive functional connectivity with the ventral striatum was significantly increased (P(corrected) < .05) in the orbitofrontal cortex, ventral medial prefrontal cortex and dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex of subjects with OCD. There was no significant correlation between measures of symptom severity and the strength of connectivity (P(uncorrected) < .001). This is the first study to investigate the corticostriatal connectivity in non-medicated patients with OCD. These findings provide the first direct evidence supporting a pathophysiological model involving basal ganglia circuitry in OCD.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Basal Ganglia* / pathology
  • Basal Ganglia* / physiopathology
  • Behavioral Symptoms* / pathology
  • Behavioral Symptoms* / physiopathology
  • Behavioral Symptoms* / psychology
  • Brain Mapping / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder* / pathology
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder* / physiopathology
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder* / psychology
  • Rest*
  • Severity of Illness Index