Diffusion tensor imaging and tract-based spatial statistics in obsessive-compulsive disorder

Takashi Nakamae, Jin Narumoto, Yuki Sakai, Seiji Nishida, Kei Yamada, Tsunehiko Nishimura, Kenji Fukui
Journal of Psychiatric Research 2011, 45 (5): 687-90
There is increasing evidence of white matter abnormalities in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The results of previous diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) studies, however, are inconsistent. Reasons for this inconsistency may include methodological issues such as misregistration, the differences in smoothing voxel-based morphometry style analysis or both. To date there are no DTI studies with tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) which overcome these issues. In addition, previous studies had few drug-free patients, thus potentially reducing their power and obscuring their findings. Therefore, the aim of present study was to investigate white matter abnormalities using DTI and TBSS analysis in a large sample of drug-free patients with OCD. Thirty drug-free patients with OCD and 30 healthy controls underwent DTI. Fourteen of 30 patients were drug naïve. Voxel-wise group comparison of white matter fractional anisotropy (FA) was performed using TBSS. Compared to healthy volunteers, OCD patients had statistically less FA in the anterior body of corpus callosum (CC) (p < .05, corrected). They also had a trend for a lower FA in the large portion of CC, the right cingulum, and the left anterior limb of internal capsule (ALIC). There were no areas of the brain with significantly higher FA. This is the first study that has investigated white matter abnormalities in non-medicated patients with OCD using DTI and TBSS analyses. Microstructural white matter abnormalities in the CC, the cingulum, and the ALIC might be involved in the pathophysiology of OCD.

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