Hippocampal functional network: The mediating role between obsession and anxiety in adult patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder

World J Biol Psychiatry. 2020 Nov;21(9):685-695. doi: 10.1080/15622975.2020.1733082. Epub 2020 Mar 16.


Objectives: Anxiety is a very common symptom and closely related to obsessive-compulsive symptoms in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). However, the association between anxiety and obsessive-compulsive symptoms at the hippocampus network level remains unclear.

Methods: This study enrolled 42 patients with OCD and 42 healthy controls (HCs), who underwent resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and clinical evaluation. Multiple linear regression analysis was performed to investigate the behavioural significance and interactive effects of obsessive-compulsive and anxiety symptoms on the hippocampus functional connectivity (HFC). The mediation analysis model was used to explore whether the hippocampus functional connectivity (FC) network indirectly mediated the relationship between obsessive-compulsive symptoms and anxiety.

Results: Results showed that the FCs with the cerebellum, middle temporal gyrus (MTG) and anterior cingulate gyrus (ACG) were increased in the hippocampus FC network in patients with OCD compared with those in HCs. The regions of interactive effects between anxiety and obsession, which are mainly located in the prefrontal cortex and MTG, were positively correlated. The mediation effect is 0.018 between obsession and anxiety on the HFC networks in patients with OCD.

Conclusions: The FC between the hippocampus and MTG plays a key role in the relationship between anxiety and obsession.

Keywords: Obsessive-compulsive disorder; anxiety; functional connectivity; hippocampus; obsession.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety
  • Brain Mapping
  • Hippocampus / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Obsessive Behavior
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder* / diagnostic imaging