Changes in gray matter volume and white matter microstructure in adolescents with obsessive-compulsive disorder

Mojtaba Zarei, David Mataix-Cols, Isobel Heyman, Morgan Hough, Joanne Doherty, Linda Burge, Louise Winmill, Sunita Nijhawan, Paul M Matthews, Anthony James
Biological Psychiatry 2011 December 1, 70 (11): 1083-90

BACKGROUND: There is a paucity of neuroimaging data in pediatric-onset obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). This multimodal neuroimaging study aimed to identify structural gray (GM) and white matter (WM) microstructure changes in pediatric OCD.

METHODS: We obtained structural and diffusion tensor magnetic resonance images from 26 OCD patients and 26 matched healthy adolescents. We carried out a series of image analyses including, volumetric and shape analysis of subcortical gray structures, as well as voxel-based morphometry on GM volume and fractional anisotropy of the WM.

RESULTS: Patients had increased GM volume in the caudate bilaterally and right putamen. Shape analyses revealed specific hypertrophy of the dorsal caudate in pediatric OCD. The striatum was larger in healthy boys compared with healthy girls, whereas such a gender effect was not seen in the OCD group. OCD subjects showed higher fractional anisotropy values in left inferior longitudinal fasciculus, bilateral superior longitudinal fasciculus, right inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, bilateral corticospinal tract, corpus callosum splenium and genu, bilateral forceps major, bilateral forceps minor, left cingulum, and right uncinate fasciculus. OCD symptom severity was positively correlated with GM volume in right insula, posterior orbitofrontal cortex, brainstem, and cerebellum and inversely correlated with widespread reduction in cortical GM volume. Furthermore, symptom severity positively correlated with increased WM fractional anisotropy in various WM tracts, including the anterior limb of the internal capsule.

CONCLUSIONS: Adolescents with OCD had a wide range of GM and WM changes compared to healthy control subjects that are broadly consistent with those identified in the adult OCD literature but are more extensive.

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