Genetic and epigenetic architecture of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: In search of possible diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers

J Psychiatr Res. 2021 May:137:554-571. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2020.10.040. Epub 2020 Nov 6.


Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a prevalent and severe clinical condition whose hallmarks are excessive, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviors (compulsions). The onset of symptoms generally occurs during pre-adult life and typically affects subjects in different aspects of their life's, compromising social and professional relationships. Although robust evidence suggests a genetic component in the etiopathogenesis of OCD, the causes of the disorder are still not completely understood. It is thus of relevance to take into account how genes interact with environmental risk factors, thought to be mediated by epigenetic mechanisms. We here provide an overview of genetic and epigenetic mechanisms of OCD, focusing on the modulation of key central nervous system genes, in the attempt to suggest possible disease biomarkers.

Keywords: Biomarkers; Epigenetic; Gene x environment interactions; Genetic; OCD.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Humans
  • Obsessive Behavior
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder* / genetics
  • Prognosis


  • Biomarkers