Biological heterogeneity of obsessive-compulsive disorder: A voxel-based morphometric study based on dimensional assessment

Kayo Okada, Tomohiro Nakao, Hirokuni Sanematsu, Keitaro Murayama, Shinichi Honda, Mayumi Tomita, Osamu Togao, Takashi Yoshiura, Shigenobu Kanba
Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences 2015, 69 (7): 411-21

AIM: Although many neuroimaging studies of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have reported broad abnormalities in gray matter (GM), their results remain inconsistent. One reason for this inconsistency could be the heterogeneity of OCD. In the present study, we aimed to classify alterations in brain anatomy by OCD subtype.

METHODS: Magnetic resonance imaging examinations of 37 OCD patients and 37 matched healthy controls were conducted using a 3.0-Tesla scanner. In the voxel-based morphometric procedure, preprocessed GM structural images were used to compare the two groups, and multiple regression analysis was used to investigate the correlation between regional GM volume in OCD patients and the OCD symptom dimension type assessed by using the Dimensional Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale.

RESULTS: We found significant reductions in GM volume in broad areas of the left prefrontal, right orbitofrontal, right parietal, right temporal, and right posterior cingulate cortex in the OCD patients compared to healthy controls. In addition, we found specific negative correlations between symptomatic dimension scores and regional GM volumes, mainly as decreased right cerebellum in 'aggression/checking' and decreased right insula in 'contamination/washing'.

CONCLUSION: The pathophysiology of OCD may involve widely distributed neural systems. Moreover, there are distinct correlations among symptomatic dimensions and structural abnormalities.

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