The neural correlates of obsessive-compulsive disorder: a multimodal perspective

P. S. Moreira, P. Marques, C. Soriano-Mas, R. Magalhães, N. Sousa, J. M. Soares, P. Morgado

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42 Citations (Scopus)


Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is one of the most debilitating psychiatric conditions. An extensive body of the literature has described some of the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the core manifestations of the disorder. Nevertheless, most reports have focused on individual modalities of structural/functional brain alterations, mainly through targeted approaches, thus possibly precluding the power of unbiased exploratory approaches. Eighty subjects (40 OCD and 40 healthy controls) participated in a multimodal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) investigation, integrating structural and functional data. Voxel-based morphometry analysis was conducted to compare between-group volumetric differences. The whole-brain functional connectome, derived from resting-state functional connectivity (FC), was analyzed with the network-based statistic methodology. Results from structural and functional analysis were integrated in mediation models. OCD patients revealed volumetric reductions in the right superior temporal sulcus. Patients had significantly decreased FC in two distinct subnetworks: the first, involving the orbitofrontal cortex, temporal poles and the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex; the second, comprising the lingual and postcentral gyri. On the opposite, a network formed by connections between thalamic and occipital regions had significantly increased FC in patients. Integrative models revealed direct and indirect associations between volumetric alterations and FC networks. This study suggests that OCD patients display alterations in brain structure and FC, involving complex networks of brain regions. Furthermore, we provided evidence for direct and indirect associations between structural and functional alterations representing complex patterns of interactions between separate brain regions, which may be of upmost relevance for explaining the pathophysiology of the disorder.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e1224
JournalTranslational Psychiatry
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 29 Aug 2017


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