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Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) is a classic disorder on the compulsivity spectrum, with diverse comorbidities. In the current study, we sought to understand OCD from a dimensional perspective by identifying multimodal neuroimaging patterns correlated with multiple phenotypic characteristics within the striatum-based circuits known to be affected by OCD.
Neuroimaging measurements of local functional and structural features and clinical information were collected from 110 subjects, including 51 patients with OCD and 59 healthy control subjects. Linked independent component analysis (LICA) and correlation analysis were applied to identify associations between local neuroimaging patterns across modalities (including gray matter volume, white matter integrity, and spontaneous functional activity) and clinical factors.
LICA identified eight multimodal neuroimaging patterns related to phenotypic variations, including three related to symptoms and diagnosis. One imaging pattern (IC9) that included both the amplitude of low-frequency fluctuation measure of spontaneous functional activity and white matter integrity measures correlated negatively with OCD diagnosis and diagnostic scales. Two imaging patterns (IC10 and IC27) correlated with compulsion symptoms: IC10 included primarily anatomical measures and IC27 included primarily functional measures. In addition, we identified imaging patterns associated with age, gender, and emotional expression across subjects.
We established that data fusion techniques can identify local multimodal neuroimaging patterns associated with OCD phenotypes. The results inform our understanding of the neurobiological underpinnings of compulsive behaviors and OCD diagnosis.
Compulsive behaviors in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have been related to impairment within the associative cortical-striatal system connecting the caudate and prefrontal cortex that underlies consciously-controlled goal-directed learning and behavior. However, little is known whether this impairment may serve as a biomarker for vulnerability to OCD.
Using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we employed Granger causality analysis (GCA) to measure effective connectivity (EC) in previously validated striatal sub-regions, including the caudate, putamen, and the nucleus accumbens, in 35 OCD patients, 35 unaffected first-degree relatives and 35 matched healthy controls.
Both OCD patients and their first-degree relatives showed greater EC than controls between the left caudate and the orbital frontal cortex (OFC). Both OCD patients and their first-degree relatives showed lower EC than controls between the left caudate and lateral prefrontal cortex. These results are consistent with findings from task-related fMRI studies which found impairment in the goal-directed system in OCD patients.
The same changes in EC were present in both OCD patients and their unaffected first-degree relatives suggest that impairment in the goal-directed learning system may be a biomarker for OCD.
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