Disorganization of anatomical connectivity in obsessive compulsive disorder: A multi-parameter diffusion tensor imaging study in a subpopulation of patients


Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) is thought to involve large-scale brain systems but the anatomical connectivity via association fibers has not been specifically investigated yet. We evaluated organization and directionality of the major fiber bundles in a subpopulation of OCD, including washers and checkers who presented decision making deficits, by measuring MRI parameters related to water self-diffusion (Fractional Anisotropy, FA) and fiber directionality (Principal Diffusion Direction, PDD) in 15 OCD and 16 control subjects. OCD patients showed significantly lower FA and altered PDD along the corpus callosum, cingulum, superior longitudinal fasciculus, and inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus bilaterally. The track-based analysis of the inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus confirmed a significant bilateral FA reduction. Lower FA values in the inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, superior longitudinal fasciculus and corpus callosum correlated with symptom severity and neuropsychological performance. This multi-parameter MRI study revealed specific white matter abnormalities in OCD suggesting tract disorganization as main feature, reflected by local changes in fiber directionality. This altered anatomical connectivity might play a specific role in OCD pathophysiology.

Neurobiology of Disease