Psychiatry Investig.  2020 Feb;17(2):87-95. 10.30773/pi.2019.0206.

Functional Connectivity of the Striatum as a Neural Correlate of Symptom Severity in Patient with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

  • 1Department of Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  • 2Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Seoul National University College of Natural Sciences, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  • 3Department of Neuropsychiatry, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  • 4Department of Psychiatry, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  • 5Institute of Human Behavioral Medicine, Seoul National University-Medical Research Center, Seoul, Republic of Korea


It is well established that the cortico-striato-thalamo-cortical (CSTC) circuit is implicated in the pathophysiology of obsessive- compulsive disorder (OCD). However, reports on corticostriatal functional connectivity (FC) in OCD have been inconsistent due to the structural and functional heterogeneity of the striatum. Therefore, in the present study, we investigated corticostriatal FC using a fine 12-seed striatal parcellation to overcome this heterogeneity and discover the neural correlates of symptoms in OCD patients.
We recruited 23 OCD patients and 23 healthy controls (HCs). Whole-brain FC based on striatal seeds was examined using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging data and compared across OCD patients and HCs. We conducted correlation analysis between FCs of striatal subregions with significant group differences and symptom severity scores on the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS), Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, and Hamilton Rating Scale for Anxiety (HAM-A).
Compared to HCs, patients demonstrated increased FC of the dorsal caudal putamen and ventral rostral putamen (VRP) with several cortical regions, such as the intracalcarine cortex, inferior frontal gyrus, supramarginal/angular gyrus (SMG/AG), and postcentral gyrus (PCG). Furthermore, FC between the VRP and SMG/AG and between the VRP and PCG was negatively correlated with scores on the Y-BOCS compulsive subscale and the HAM-A, respectively.
These findings suggest that striatal subregions have strengthened FC with extensive cortical regions, which may reflect neural correlates of compulsive and anxious symptoms in OCD patients. These results contribute to an improved understanding of OCD pathophysiology by complementing the current evidence regarding striatal FC.


Heterogeneity, Obsessive-compulsive disorder, Parcellation, Resting-state functional connectivity, Striatum
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