September 1997

Frontostriatal Measurement in Treatment-Naive Children With Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pa. Dr Rosenberg is now affiliated with the Department of Psychiatry, Behavioral Neurosciences, and Pediatrics, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, Mich.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1997;54(9):824-830. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1997.01830210068007

Background:  Abnormalities in frontostriatal circuits have been implicated in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Although OCD commonly emerges during childhood or adolescence, few studies have examined frontostriatal anatomy in psychotropic-naive children with OCD near the onset of illness to determine the possible role of atypical developmental processes in this disorder.

Methods:  Magnetic resonance imaging scans from 19 children with OCD who had not been exposed to psychotropic drugs, aged 7 to 18 years, and 19 casematched healthy control subjects were analyzed to determine the volumes of the following structures: prefrontal cortex, striatum (caudate and putamen), lateral and third ventricles, and intracranial volume.

Results:  Patients with OCD had significantly smaller striatal volumes and significantly larger third ventricle volumes than controls, but did not differ in prefrontal cortical, lateral ventricular, or intracranial volumes. Striatal volumes were inversely correlated with OCD symptom severity but not illness duration.

Conclusions:  Our findings provide new evidence of abnormalities of the striatum in pediatric OCD. These results are preliminary, given the small sample