Shape analysis of subcortical structures in obsessive-compulsive disorder and the relationship with comorbid anxiety, depression, and medication use: A meta-analysis by the OCD Brain Imaging Consortium

Jean-Paul Fouche, Nynke A. Groenewold, Tatum Sevenoaks, Sarah Heany, Christine Lochner, Pino Alonso, Marcelo C. Batistuzzo, Narcis Cardoner, Christopher R. K. Ching, Stella J. de Wit, Boris Gutman, Marcelo Q. Hoexter, Neda Jahanshad, Minah Kim, Jun Soo Kwon, David Mataix-Cols, Jose M. Menchon, Euripedes C. Miguel, Takashi Nakamae, Mary L. PhillipsJesus Pujol, Yuki Sakai, Je-Yeon Yun, Carles Soriano-Mas, Paul M. Thompson, Kei Yamada, Dick J. Veltman, Odile A. van den Heuvel, Dan J. Stein

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Objective: Neuroimaging studies of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) patients have highlighted the important role of deep gray matter structures. Less work has however focused on subcortical shape in OCD patients. Methods: Here we pooled brain MRI scans from 412 OCD patients and 368 controls to perform a meta-analysis utilizing the ENIGMA-Shape protocol. In addition, we investigated modulating effects of medication status, comorbid anxiety or depression, and disease duration on subcortical shape. Results: There was no significant difference in shape thickness or surface area between OCD patients and healthy controls. For the subgroup analyses, OCD patients with comorbid depression or anxiety had lower thickness of the hippocampus and caudate nucleus and higher thickness of the putamen and pallidum compared to controls. OCD patients with comorbid depression had lower shape surface area in the thalamus, caudate nucleus, putamen, hippocampus, and nucleus accumbens and higher shape surface area in the pallidum. OCD patients with comorbid anxiety had lower shape surface area in the putamen and the left caudate nucleus and higher shape surface area in the pallidum and the right caudate nucleus. Further, OCD patients on medication had lower shape thickness of the putamen, thalamus, and hippocampus and higher thickness of the pallidum and caudate nucleus, as well as lower shape surface area in the hippocampus and amygdala and higher surface area in the putamen, pallidum, and caudate nucleus compared to controls. There were no significant differences between OCD patients without co-morbid anxiety and/or depression and healthy controls on shape measures. In addition, there were also no significant differences between OCD patients not using medication and healthy controls. Conclusions: The findings here are partly consistent with prior work on brain volumes in OCD, insofar as they emphasize that alterations in subcortical brain morphology are associated with comorbidity and medication status. Further work is needed to understand the biological processes contributing to subcortical shape.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2755
JournalBrain and Behavior
Issue number10
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


  • anxiety
  • depression
  • gray matter
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • neuroimaging
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • subcortical

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