Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Autoimmunity and Neuroinflammation

Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2019 Aug 1;21(8):78. doi: 10.1007/s11920-019-1062-8.


Purpose of review: Here, we propose to review the immuno-inflammatory hypothesis in OCD given the concurrent incidence of autoimmune comorbidities, infectious stigma, and raised levels of inflammatory markers in a significant subset of patients. A better understanding of the immune dysfunction in OCD may allow stratifying the patients in order to design personalized pharmaco/psychotherapeutic strategies.

Recent findings: A persistent low-grade inflammation involving both innate and adaptive immune system with coexisting autoimmune morbidities and stigma of infectious events has been prominently observed in OCD. Hence, specific treatments targeting inflammation/infection are a feasible alternative in OCD. This review highlights that OCD is associated with low-grade inflammation, neural antibodies, and neuro-inflammatory and auto-immune disorders. In some subset of OCD patients, autoimmunity is likely triggered by specific bacterial, viral, or parasitic agents with overlapping surface epitopes in CNS. Hence, subset-profiling in OCD is warranted to benefit from distinct immune-targeted treatment modalities.

Keywords: Autoimmunity; Infections; Inflammation; OCD.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autoimmunity / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation* / immunology
  • Inflammation* / pathology
  • Inflammation* / therapy
  • Neurons / immunology
  • Neurons / pathology*
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / immunology*
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / pathology*
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / therapy