Brain Imaging and Behavior

, Volume 11, Issue 5, pp 1326–1333 | Cite as

Relationship between symptom dimensions and brain morphology in obsessive-compulsive disorder

  • Motohisa Hirose
  • Yoshiyuki HiranoEmail author
  • Kiyotaka Nemoto
  • Chihiro Sutoh
  • Kenichi Asano
  • Haruko Miyata
  • Junko Matsumoto
  • Michiko Nakazato
  • Koji Matsumoto
  • Yoshitada Masuda
  • Masaomi Iyo
  • Eiji Shimizu
  • Akiko Nakagawa
Original Research


Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is known as a clinically heterogeneous disorder characterized by symptom dimensions. Although substantial numbers of neuroimaging studies have demonstrated the presence of brain abnormalities in OCD, their results are controversial. The clinical heterogeneity of OCD could be one of the reasons for this. It has been hypothesized that certain brain regions contributed to the respective obsessive-compulsive dimensions. In this study, we investigated the relationship between symptom dimensions of OCD and brain morphology using voxel-based morphometry to discover the specific regions showing alterations in the respective dimensions of obsessive-compulsive symptoms. The severities of symptom dimensions in thirty-three patients with OCD were assessed using Obsessive-Compulsive Inventory-Revised (OCI-R). Along with numerous MRI studies pointing out brain abnormalities in autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) patients, a previous study reported a positive correlation between ASD traits and regional gray matter volume in the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and amygdala in OCD patients. We investigated the correlation between gray and white matter volumes at the whole brain level and each symptom dimension score, treating all remaining dimension scores, age, gender, and ASD traits as confounding covariates. Our results revealed a significant negative correlation between washing symptom dimension score and gray matter volume in the right thalamus and a significant negative correlation between hoarding symptom dimension score and white matter volume in the left angular gyrus. Although our result was preliminary, our findings indicated that there were specific brain regions in gray and white matter that contributed to symptom dimensions in OCD patients.


Obsessive-compulsive disorder Voxel-based morphometry Obsessive-compulsive inventory-revised Washing symptom Hoarding symptom Thalamus 



This work was supported by Grants-in-Aid for Innovative Areas (Comprehensive Brain Science Network) from the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture of Japan and a Grant-in-Aid from the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture of Japan (23591733).

Compliance with ethical standards

Disclosure statement

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed consent

All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committees on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, and the applicable revisions at the time of the investigation. Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.

Supplementary material

11682_2016_9611_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (9 kb)
Table S1 (XLSX 9 kb)
11682_2016_9611_Fig3_ESM.gif (51 kb)
Figure S1

Negative liner correlations between OCI-R variables and gray matter volumes with the BDI scores as nuisance covariate ( n = 28). The negative correlation between regional gray matter volumes in the superior temporal gyrus, right thalamus, left thalamus, and left postcentral gyrus, and the washing dimension scores. Results are shown at q < 0.05, false discovery rate (FDR) corrected for multiple comparisons at the cluster level. Color bar shows t-value. Covariates are the remaining five dimension scores, gender, age, AQ scores, and BDI scores. L; left. (GIF 51 kb)

11682_2016_9611_MOESM2_ESM.eps (489 kb)
High resolution image (EPS 489 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Motohisa Hirose
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yoshiyuki Hirano
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Kiyotaka Nemoto
    • 3
  • Chihiro Sutoh
    • 4
  • Kenichi Asano
    • 1
    • 2
  • Haruko Miyata
    • 1
  • Junko Matsumoto
    • 5
  • Michiko Nakazato
    • 1
    • 2
  • Koji Matsumoto
    • 6
  • Yoshitada Masuda
    • 6
  • Masaomi Iyo
    • 7
  • Eiji Shimizu
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  • Akiko Nakagawa
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Research Center for Child Mental DevelopmentChiba UniversityChibaJapan
  2. 2.United Graduate School of Child DevelopmentOsaka University, Kanazawa University, Hamamatsu University School of Medicine, Chiba University and University of FukuiOsakaJapan
  3. 3.Department of Psychiatry, Division of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of TsukubaTsukubaJapan
  4. 4.Department of Cognitive Behavioral Physiology, Graduate School of MedicineChiba UniversityChibaJapan
  5. 5.Department of Regional Disaster Medicine, Graduate School of MedicineChiba UniversityChibaJapan
  6. 6.Department of RadiologyChiba University HospitalChibaJapan
  7. 7.Department of Psychiatry, Graduate School of MedicineChiba UniversityChibaJapan

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