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Vol. 64, No. 2, 2011
Issue release date: June 2011
Section title: Review
Free Access
Neuropsychobiology 2011;64:61–85
(DOI:10.1159/000325223)

Functional Neuroimaging in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Del Casale A.a · Kotzalidis G.D.a · Rapinesi C.a · Serata D.a · Ambrosi E.a · Simonetti A.a · Pompili M.a, b · Ferracuti S.a · Tatarelli R.a · Girardi P.a
aNESMOS (Neurosciences, Mental Health, and Sensory Organs) Department, School of Medicine and Psychology, Sapienza University and Sant’Andrea Hospital, Rome, Italy; bMcLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Belmont, Mass., USA
email Corresponding Author

Abstract

Background and Aim: Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a severe, highly prevalent and chronically disabling psychiatric disorder that usually emerges during childhood or adolescence. This paper aims to review the literature on functional neuroimaging in OCD, analysing the reported dysfunctional connectivity in the corticostriatothalamocortical circuitry. Method: This study included papers published in peer-reviewed journals dealing with functional imaging in OCD. Results: Striatal dysfunction, mainly of the caudate nucleus, leads to inefficient thalamic gating, resulting in hyperactivity within the orbitofrontal cortex (intrusive thoughts) and the anterior cingulate cortex (non-specific anxiety). Compulsions consist of ritualistic behaviours performed to recruit the inefficient striatum and neutralise unwanted thoughts and anxiety. Functional neuroimaging findings are discussed against the background of specific cognitive impairments, mainly regarding visuospatial processing, executive functioning and motor speed. Cognitive deficits are partial and specific, matching imaging data. Conclusions: Several studies have targeted brain regions hypothesised to be involved in the pathogenesis of OCD, showing the existence of dysfunctional connectivity in the corticostriatothalamocortical circuitry. Improvements in spatial resolution of neuroimaging techniques may contribute to a better understanding of the neurocircuitry of OCD and other anxiety disorders.

© 2011 S. Karger AG, Basel


  

Key Words

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Functional neuroimaging
  • Striatum
  • Orbitofrontal cortex
  • Cognitive functions

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Author Contacts

Antonio Del Casale, MD
NESMOS (Neurosciences, Mental Health, and Sensory Functions) Department
School of Medicine and Psychology, Sant’Andrea Hospital, Sapienza University
Via di Grottarossa 1035–1039, IT–00189 Rome (Italy)
Tel. +39 063 377 5675, E-Mail a

  

Article Information

Received: September 28, 2010
Accepted after revision: January 23, 2011
Published online: June 21, 2011
Number of Print Pages : 25
Number of Figures : 1, Number of Tables : 3, Number of References : 182

  

Publication Details

Neuropsychobiology (International Journal of Experimental and Clinical Research in Biological Psychiatry, Pharmacopsychiatry, Biological Psychology/Pharmacopsychology and Pharmacoelectroencephalography)

Vol. 64, No. 2, Year 2011 (Cover Date: June 2011)

Journal Editor: Strik W. (Bern)
ISSN: 0302-282X (Print), eISSN: 1423-0224 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/NPS


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