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Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a chronic mental illness characterized by abnormal functional connectivity among distributed brain regions. Previous studies have primarily focused on undirected functional connectivity and rarely reported from network perspective.
To better understand between or within-network connectivities of OCD, effective connectivity (EC) of a large-scale network is assessed by spectral dynamic causal modeling with eight key regions of interests from default mode (DMN), salience (SN), frontoparietal (FPN) and cerebellum networks, based on large sample size including 100 OCD patients and 120 healthy controls (HCs). Parametric empirical Bayes (PEB) framework was used to identify the difference between the two groups. We further analyzed the relationship between connections and Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS).
OCD and HCs shared some similarities of inter- and intra-network patterns in the resting state. Relative to HCs, patients showed increased ECs from left anterior insula (LAI) to medial prefrontal cortex, right anterior insula (RAI) to left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (L-DLPFC), right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (R-DLPFC) to cerebellum anterior lobe (CA), CA to posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) and to anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). Moreover, weaker from LAI to L-DLPFC, RAI to ACC, and the self-connection of R-DLPFC. Connections from ACC to CA and from L-DLPFC to PCC were positively correlated with compulsion and obsession scores (r = 0.209, p = 0.037; r = 0.199, p = 0.047, uncorrected).
Our study revealed dysregulation among DMN, SN, FPN, and cerebellum in OCD, emphasizing the role of these four networks in achieving top-down control for goal-directed behavior. There existed a top-down disruption among these networks, constituting the pathophysiological and clinical basis.
Mental disorders, including depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and schizophrenia, share a common neuropathy of disturbed large-scale coordinated brain maturation. However, high-interindividual heterogeneity hinders the identification of shared and distinct patterns of brain network abnormalities across mental disorders. This study aimed to identify shared and distinct patterns of altered structural covariance across mental disorders.
Subject-level structural covariance aberrance in patients with mental disorders was investigated using individualized differential structural covariance network. This method inferred structural covariance aberrance at the individual level by measuring the degree of structural covariance in patients deviating from matched healthy controls (HCs). T1-weighted anatomical images of 513 participants (105, 98, 190 participants with depression, OCD and schizophrenia, respectively, and 130 age- and sex-matched HCs) were acquired and analyzed.
Patients with mental disorders exhibited notable heterogeneity in terms of altered edges, which were otherwise obscured by group-level analysis. The three disorders shared high difference variability in edges attached to the frontal network and the subcortical-cerebellum network, and they also exhibited disease-specific variability distributions. Despite notable variability, patients with the same disorder shared disease-specific groups of altered edges. Specifically, depression was characterized by altered edges attached to the subcortical-cerebellum network; OCD, by altered edges linking the subcortical-cerebellum and motor networks; and schizophrenia, by altered edges related to the frontal network.
These results have potential implications for understanding heterogeneity and facilitating personalized diagnosis and interventions for mental disorders.
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