Toward a neurocircuit-based taxonomy to guide treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder

Elizabeth Shephard, Emily R Stern, Odile A van den Heuvel, Daniel L C Costa, Marcelo C Batistuzzo, Priscilla B G Godoy, Antonio C Lopes, Andre R Brunoni, Marcelo Q Hoexter, Roseli G Shavitt, Y C Janardhan Reddy, Christine Lochner, Dan J Stein, H Blair Simpson, Euripedes C Miguel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

82 Citations (Scopus)


An important challenge in mental health research is to translate findings from cognitive neuroscience and neuroimaging research into effective treatments that target the neurobiological alterations involved in psychiatric symptoms. To address this challenge, in this review we propose a heuristic neurocircuit-based taxonomy to guide the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). We do this by integrating information from several sources. First, we provide case vignettes in which patients with OCD describe their symptoms and discuss different clinical profiles in the phenotypic expression of the condition. Second, we link variations in these clinical profiles to underlying neurocircuit dysfunctions, drawing on findings from neuropsychological and neuroimaging studies in OCD. Third, we consider behavioral, pharmacological, and neuromodulatory treatments that could target those specific neurocircuit dysfunctions. Finally, we suggest methods of testing this neurocircuit-based taxonomy as well as important limitations to this approach that should be considered in future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4583-4604
Number of pages22
JournalMolecular psychiatry
Issue number9
Early online date7 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021

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