European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 227–235 | Cite as

Genetics of early-onset obsessive–compulsive disorder

  • Susanne WalitzaEmail author
  • Jens R. Wendland
  • Edna Gruenblatt
  • Andreas Warnke
  • Thomas A. Sontag
  • Oliver Tucha
  • Klaus W. Lange


Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by recurrent, intrusive and disturbing thoughts as well as by repetitive stereotypic behaviors. Epidemiological data are similar in children and adults, i.e., between 1 and 3% of the general population suffer from OCD. Children with OCD are often seriously impaired in their development. OCD, especially of early onset, has been shown to be familial. Several candidate genes of predominantly neurotransmitter systems have been analyzed and a total of three genome-wide linkage scans have been performed until now. Analyses of candidate genes in linkage regions have not provided evidence for their involvement in OCD, with the exception of the glutamate transporter gene SLC1A1 on 9p24. Genome-wide association analyses are in progress and the results will promote further independent replication studies. The consideration of subtypes regarding age of onset, symptom dimensions and/or comorbid disorders is needed.


Obsessive–compulsive disorder Serotonin Glutamate transporter gene Early onset Brain-derived neurotrophic factor 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susanne Walitza
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jens R. Wendland
    • 2
  • Edna Gruenblatt
    • 1
  • Andreas Warnke
    • 3
  • Thomas A. Sontag
    • 4
  • Oliver Tucha
    • 5
  • Klaus W. Lange
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Child and Adolescent PsychiatryUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Laboratory of Clinical ScienceNational Institute of Mental HealthBethesdaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and PsychotherapyUniversity of WürzburgWurzburgGermany
  4. 4.Department of Experimental PsychologyUniversity of RegensburgRegensburgGermany
  5. 5.Department of PsychologyUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands

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