Developmental alterations of frontal-striatal-thalamic connectivity in obsessive-compulsive disorder.
ABSTRACT: Pediatric obsessive-compulsive disorder is characterized by abnormalities of frontal-striatal-thalamic circuitry that appear near illness onset and persist over its course. Distinct frontal-striatal-thalamic loops through cortical centers for cognitive control (anterior cingulate cortex) and emotion processing (ventral medial frontal cortex) follow unique maturational trajectories, and altered connectivity within distinct loops may be differentially associated with OCD at specific stages of development.Altered development of striatal and thalamic connectivity to medial frontal cortex was tested in 60 OCD patients compared with 61 healthy control subjects at child, adolescent, and adult stages of development, using resting-state functional connectivity MRI.OCD in the youngest patients was associated with reduced connectivity of dorsal striatum and medial dorsal thalamus to rostral and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, respectively. Increased connectivity of dorsal striatum to ventral medial frontal cortex was observed in patients at all developmental stages. In child patients, reduced connectivity between dorsal striatum and rostral anterior cingulate cortex correlated with OCD severity.Frontal-striatal-thalamic loops involved in cognitive control are hypoconnected in young patients near illness onset, whereas loops implicated in emotion processing are hyperconnected throughout the illness.
Project description:Fronto-striatal circuits are hypothesized to be involved in the pathophysiology of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Within this circuitry, ventral frontal regions project fibers to the ventral striatum (VS) and dorsal frontal regions to the dorsal striatum. Resting state fMRI research has shown higher functional connectivity between the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) and the dorsal part of the VS in OCD patients compared to healthy controls (HC). Therefore, we hypothesized that in OCD the OFC predominantly project fibers to the more dorsal part of the VS, and that the structural connectivity between the OFC and VS is higher compared to HC. A total of 20 non-medicated OCD patients and 20 HC underwent diffusion-weighted imaging. Connectivity-based parcellation analyses were performed with the striatum as seed region and the OFC, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex as target regions. Obtained connectivity maps for each frontal region of interest (ROI) were normalized into standard space, and Z-component (dorsal-ventral) coordinate of center-of-gravity (COG) were compared between two groups. Probabilistic tractography was performed to investigate diffusion indices of fibers between the striatum and frontal ROIs. COG Z-component coordinates of connectivity maps for OFC ROI were located in the more dorsal part of the VS in OCD patients compared to HC. Fractional anisotropy of fibers between the OFC and the striatum was higher in OCD patients compared to HC. Part of the pathophysiology of OCD might be understood by altered topography and structural connectivity of fibers between the OFC and the striatum.
Project description:Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is associated with dysfunctional brain activity in several regions which are also involved in the processing of motivational stimuli. Processing of reward and punishment appears to be of special importance to understand clinical symptoms. There is evidence for higher sensitivity to punishment in patients with OCD which raises the question how avoidance of punishment relates to activity within the brain's reward circuitry. We employed the monetary incentive delay task paradigm optimized for modeling the anticipation phase of immediate reward and punishment, in the context of a cross-sectional event-related FMRI study comparing OCD patients and healthy control participants (n = 19 in each group). While overall behavioral performance was similar in both groups, patients showed increased activation upon anticipated losses in a medial and superior frontal cortex region extending into the cingulate cortex, and decreased activation upon anticipated rewards. No evidence was found for altered activation of dorsal or ventral striatal regions. Patients also showed more delayed responses for anticipated rewards than for anticipated losses whereas the reverse was true in healthy participants. The medial prefrontal cortex has been shown to implement a domain-general process comprising negative affect, pain and cognitive control. This process uses information about punishment to control aversively motivated actions by integrating signals arriving from subcortical regions. Our results support the notion that OCD is associated with altered sensitivity to anticipated rewards and losses in a medial prefrontal region whereas there is no significant aberrant activation in ventral or dorsal striatal brain regions during processing of reinforcement anticipation.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Previous studies have demonstrated that structural deficits and functional connectivity imbalances might underlie the pathophysiology of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The purpose of the present study was to investigate gray matter deficits and abnormal resting-state networks in patients with OCD and further investigate the association between the anatomic and functional alterations and clinical symptoms.<h4>Methods</h4>Participants were 33 treatment-naïve OCD patients and 33 matched healthy controls. Voxel-based morphometry was used to investigate the regions with gray matter abnormalities and resting-state functional connectivity analysis was further conducted between each gray matter abnormal region and the remaining voxels in the brain.<h4>Results</h4>Compared with healthy controls, patients with OCD showed significantly increased gray matter volume in the left caudate, left thalamus, and posterior cingulate cortex, as well as decreased gray matter volume in the bilateral medial orbitofrontal cortex, left anterior cingulate cortex, and left inferior frontal gyrus. By using the above morphologic deficits areas as seed regions, functional connectivity analysis found abnormal functional integration in the cortical-striatum-thalamic-cortical (CSTC) circuits and default mode network. Subsequent correlation analyses revealed that morphologic deficits in the left thalamus and increased functional connectivity within the CSTC circuits positively correlated with the total Y-BOCS score.<h4>Conclusion</h4>This study provides evidence that morphologic and functional alterations are seen in CSTC circuits and default mode network in treatment-naïve OCD patients. The association between symptom severity and the CSTC circuits suggests that anatomic and functional alterations in CSTC circuits are especially important in the pathophysiology of OCD.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Foundational knowledge on neural circuitry underlying pediatric obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and how it changes during standard treatment is needed to provide the basis for conceptualization and development of novel targeted treatments. This study explored the effects of sertraline, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, on resting-state functional connectivity in cortico-striatal-thalamic-cortical circuits in pediatric OCD. METHOD:Medication-free youths with OCD (n = 14) and healthy controls (n = 14) were examined at baseline and 12 weeks with resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging. Between scan sessions, participants with OCD received 12 weeks of sertraline. For each scan, seed-based whole-brain resting-state functional connectivity analyses were conducted with 6 striatal seeds. Analysis of variance examined the interaction between group and time on striatal connectivity, including cluster-based thresholding to correct for multiple tests. Connectivity changes within circuits identified in group analyses were correlated with clinical change. RESULTS:Two significant group-by-time effects in the OCD group showed increased striatal connectivity from baseline to 12 weeks compared with controls. Circuits demonstrating this pattern included the right putamen with the left frontal cortex and insula and the left putamen with the left frontal cortex and pre- and post-central cortices. Increase in connectivity in the left putamen circuit was significantly correlated with clinical improvement on the Children's Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale score (r = -0.58, p = .03). CONCLUSION:Sertraline appears to affect specific striatal-based circuits in pediatric OCD, and these changes in part could account for clinical improvement. Future work is needed to confirm these preliminary findings, which would facilitate identification of circuit-based targets for novel treatment development. CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION INFORMATION:Effects of Sertraline on Brain Connectivity in Adolescents with OCD; https://clinicaltrials.gov/; NCT02797808.
Project description:Recent functional imaging work in individuals experiencing an at-risk mental state (ARMS) for psychosis has implicated dorsal striatal abnormalities in the emergence of psychotic symptoms, contrasting with earlier findings implicating the ventral striatum. Our aims here were to characterize putative dorsal and ventral striatal circuit-level abnormalities in ARMS individuals using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and to investigate their relationship to positive psychotic symptoms. Resting-state fMRI was acquired in 74 ARMS subjects and 35 matched healthy controls. An established method for mapping ventral and dorsal striatal functional connectivity was used to examine corticostriatal functional integrity. Positive psychotic symptoms were assessed using the Comprehensive Assessment of At-Risk Mental State and the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale. Compared with healthy controls, ARMS subjects showed reductions in functional connectivity between the dorsal caudate and right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, left rostral medial prefrontal cortex, and thalamus, and between the dorsal putamen and left thalamic and lenticular nuclei. ARMS subjects also showed increased functional connectivity between the ventral putamen and the insula, frontal operculum, and superior temporal gyrus bilaterally. No differences in ventral striatal (ie, nucleus accumbens) functional connectivity were found. Altered functional connectivity in corticostriatal circuits were significantly correlated with positive psychotic symptoms. Together, these results suggest that risk for psychosis is mediated by a complex interplay of alterations in both dorsal and ventral corticostriatal systems.
Project description:Few studies have explored the neurobiological basis of insight level in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), though the salience network (SN) has been implicated in insight deficits in schizophrenia. This study was then designed to investigate whether resting-state (rs) functional connectivity (FC) of SN was associated with insight level in OCD patients. We analyzed rs-functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data from 21 OCD patients with good insight (OCD-GI), 19 OCD patients with poor insight (OCD-PI), and 24 healthy controls (HCs). Seed-based whole-brain FC and ROI (region of interest)-wise connectivity analyses were performed with seeds/ROIs in the bilateral anterior insula (AI) and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC). The right AI-right medial orbital frontal cortex (mOFC) connectivity was found to be uniquely decreased in the OCD-PI group, and the value of this aberrant connectivity correlated with insight level in OCD patients. In addition, we found that the OCD-GI group had significantly increased right AI-left dACC connectivity within the SN, relative to HCs (overall trend for groups: OCD-GI > OCD-PI > HC). Our findings suggest that abnormal right AI-right mOFC FC may mediate insight deficits in OCD, perhaps due to impaired encoding and integration of self-evaluative information about OCD-related beliefs and behaviors. Our findings indicate a SN connectivity dissociation between OCD-GI and OCD-PI patients and support the notion of considering OCD-GI and OCD-PI as two distinct disorder subtypes.
Project description:Bipolar disorder is characterized by internally affective fluctuations. The abnormality of inherently mental state can be assessed using resting-state fMRI data without producing task-induced biases. In this study, we hypothesized that the resting-state connectivity related to the frontal, striatal, and thalamic regions, which were associated with mood regulations and cognitive functions, can be altered for bipolar disorder. We used the Pearson's correlation coefficients to estimate functional connectivity followed by the hierarchical modular analysis to categorize the resting-state functional regions of interest (ROIs). The selected functional connectivities associated with the striatal-thalamic circuit and default mode network (DMN) were compared between bipolar patients and healthy controls. Significantly decreased connectivity in the striatal-thalamic circuit and between the striatal regions and the middle and posterior cingulate cortex was observed in the bipolar patients. We also observed that the bipolar patients exhibited significantly increased connectivity between the thalamic regions and the parahippocampus. No significant changes of connectivity related to the frontal regions in the DMN were observed. The changed resting-state connectivity related to the striatal-thalamic circuit might be an inherent basis for the altered emotional and cognitive processing in the bipolar patients.
Project description:Exaggerated concern for correct performance has been linked to hyperactivity of the medial frontal cortex (MFC) in adult obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), but the role of the MFC during the early course of illness remains poorly understood. We tested whether hyperactive MFC-based performance monitoring function relates to altered MFC connectivity within task control and default mode networks in pediatric patients.Eighteen pairs of OCD and matched healthy youth underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging during performance monitoring and at rest. Task-related hyperactivations in the posterior and ventral MFC were used as seeds for connectivity analyses during task and resting state.In posterior MFC, patients showed greater activation of dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) than control subjects, with greater activation predicting worse performance. In ventral MFC, control subjects exhibited deactivation, whereas patients activated this region. Compared with control subjects, patients showed increased dACC-ventral MFC connectivity during task and decreased dACC-right anterior operculum and ventral MFC-posterior cingulate connectivity during rest.Excessive activation and increased interactions of posterior and ventral MFC during performance monitoring may combine with reduced resting state connectivity of these regions within networks for task control and default mode to reflect early markers of OCD. Alteration of reciprocal interactions between these networks could potentiate the intrusion of ventral MFC-based affectively laden, self-referential thoughts, while disrupting posterior MFC-based performance-monitoring function in young patients.
Project description:Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) affects approximately 2-3% of the population and is characterized by recurrent intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviors or mental acts (compulsions), typically performed in response to obsessions or related anxiety. In the past few decades, the prevailing models of OCD pathophysiology have focused on cortico-striatal circuitry. More recent neuroimaging evidence, however, points to critical involvement of the lateral and medial orbitofrontal cortices, the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex and amygdalo-cortical circuitry, in addition to cortico-striatal circuitry, in the pathophysiology of the disorder. In this review, we elaborate proposed features of OCD pathophysiology beyond the classic parallel cortico-striatal pathways and argue that this evidence suggests that fear extinction, in addition to behavioral inhibition, is impaired in OCD.