White matter microstructure in patients with obsessive–compulsive disorder

White matter microstructure in patients with obsessive–compulsive disorder


J Psychiatry Neurosci 2011;36(1):42-6

Emre Bora, MD; Ben J. Harrison, PhD; Alex Fornito, PhD; Luca Cocchi, PhD; Jesus Pujol, MD; Leonardo F. Fontenelle, MD; Dennis Velakoulis, MD; Christos Pantelis, MD; Murat Yücel, PhD, MAPS

Bora, Harrison, Fornito, Cocchi, Velakoulis, Pantelis, Yücel — Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre, Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne and Melbourne Health, Victoria, Australia; Fornito — Brain Mapping Unit, Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge, UK; Pujol — Institut d’Alta Tecnologia–Parc de Recerca Biomèdica de Barcelona, Centro Radiologico Computerizado Corporacio.. Sanitària, Barcelona, Spain; Fontenelle — Anxiety and Depression Research Program Institute of Psychiatry (IPUB), Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Rio de Janeiro-RJ, Brazil; Yücel — Orygen Youth Health Research Centre, Centre for Youth Mental Health, University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


Background: Previous diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) studies in patients with obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) have reported inconsistent findings, and it is not known whether observed findings are related to abnormalities in axonal structure or myelination.

Methods: In this DTI study, we investigated fractional anisotropy, as well as axial and radial diffusivity, in 21 patients with OCD and 29 healthy controls.

Results: We found decreased fractional anisotropy in the body of the corpus callosum in the OCD group, which was underpinned by increased radial diffusivity.

Limitations: The cross-sectional design was the main limitation.

Conclusion: Our findings of increased radial diffusivity provide preliminary evidence for abnormal myelination in patients with OCD.

Submitted May 21, 2010; Revised Aug. 3, 2010; Accepted Aug. 23, 2010.

Acknowledgments: Drs. Yücel and Harrison were supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC) Clinical Career Development Award (I.D. 509345 and 628509). Dr. Fornito was supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council CJ Martin Fellowship (ID: 454797). Dr. Cocchi was supported by the Swiss Foundation for Fellowships in Biology and Medicine (PASMP3_129357 / 1) and a Swiss National Science Foundation grant (PBLAB-3-119622).

Competing interests: None declared for Drs. Bora, Harrison, Fornito, Pujol, Velakoulis and Yücel. Dr. Fontenelle declares having received grant support from an Endeavour Postdoctoral Research Fellowship and the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Techológico (Bolsa de Produtividade e Pesquisa); having consulted, presented lectures and developed educational presentations for Lundbeck; and having received travel assistance from Lundbeck, Solvay and Servier. Dr. Pantelis declares having consulted for and receiving honoraria from Janssen Cilag, Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca, Mayne Pharma, Pfizer and Schering Plough; receiving grant support from the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia, the Australian Research Council, Eli Lilly, Hospira (Mayne), Janssen Cilag, the Ramaciotti Foudation, AstraZeneca, the AE Rowden White Foundation, the Victorian Neurotrauma Initiative, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation and the University of Melbourne; having received payment for speaking from Janssen Cilag, Eli Lilly, Bristol Myers Squibb, AstraZeneca and Pfizer; and having received travel assistance from Janssen Cilag, AstraZeneca and Eli Lilly.

Contributors: Drs. Bora and Yücel designed the study. Dr. Yücel acquired the data. All authors analzyed the data and approved publication of the article. Drs. Bora and Fornito wrote the article, which Drs. Bora, Harrison, Fornito, Cocchi, Pujol, Fontenelle, Velakoulis, Pantelis and Yücel critically reviewed.

DOI: 10.1503/jpn.100082

Correspondence to: Dr. E. Bora (emrebora@hotmail.com) or Dr. M. Yücel (murat@unimelb.edu.au), Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre, Alan Gilbert Bldg., NNF Level 3, Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria 3053, Australia