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  • Print publication year: 2010
  • Online publication date: January 2011

16 - Structural imaging of obsessive–compulsive disorder

from Section III - Anxiety Disorders


This chapter presents findings from structural neuroimaging studies of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in both pediatric and adult populations. It reviews the structural neuroimaging literature with a focus on regions strongly implicated in the pathophysiology of OCD, including the orbitofrontal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex, basal ganglia, and thalamus. Structural neuroimaging studies have identified abnormalities in CST neural systems, especially in the orbitofrontal cortex and have informed many of the dominant neurobiological models of OCD. The emergence of magnetic resonance (MR) imaging techniques advanced the field by providing higher-resolution images without the potential risk of ionizing radiation. Several structural neuroimaging studies reported less gray matter in the amygdala and hippocampus in adult patients with OCD compared to healthy controls, although Kwon et al. reported larger amygdala volume in patients. Recently, investigators have used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to investigate the potential role of white matter abnormalities in the pathogenesis of OCD.

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