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Resting-state functional connectivity of amygdala subregions predicts treatment outcome for cognitive behavioral therapy in obsessive-compulsive disorder at a 4-month follow-up.

Psychiatry Research 2024 March 29
BACKGROUND: Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is considered as the first-line treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). However, the underlying neural mechanisms through which CBT exerts its effects in OCD remain unclear. This study aims to investigate whether the improvement of clinical symptoms in OCD patients after CBT treatment is associated with changes in resting-state functional connectivity (FC) of the amygdala subregion, and whether these changes can be served as potential predictors of four-months treatment efficacy.

METHODS: We collected resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) data from 57 OCD patients and 50 healthy subjects at baseline. In the patient group, rs-fMRI was also obtained after completion of an 8-week CBT treatment and 4 months post-treatment. A whole-brain rsFC analysis was conducted using the amygdala subregion as the seed point. We analyzed the FC patterns in relation to 4 months clinical outcomes to elucidate the long-term efficacy of CBT in OCD patients.

RESULTS: Treatment responseat at pre-treatment was found to be associated with reduced rsFC between the left basolateral amygdala(BLA)and left superior temporal gyrus(STG) at baseline. Lower pre-treatment FC were negatively correlated with the severity of OCD symptoms as measured by the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Severity Scale (Y-BOCS). Moreover, the area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve for the FC between the left BLA and STG at the end of treatment was 73.0% and 70.4% for the effective-ineffective and remitted or unremitted groups, respectively. At the 4-month follow-up, the area under the ROC curve for the effective-ineffective and remitted or unremitted groups was 83.9% and 76.5%, respectively.

CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that brain functional activity in patients with OCD can predict treatment response to CBT, and longitudinal changes in relevant brain functional activity following CBT treatment are associated with treatment response in OCD.

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