Homogeneous grey matter patterns in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder

Kathrin Koch, Daniela Rodriguez Manrique, Oana Georgiana Rus-Oswald, Deniz A. Gürsel, Götz Berberich, Miriam Kunz, Claus Zimmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Changes in grey matter volume have frequently been reported in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Most studies performed whole brain or region-of-interest based analyses whereas grey matter volume based on structural covariance networks has barely been investigated up to now. Therefore, the present study investigated grey matter volume within structural covariance networks in a sample of 228 participants (n = 117 OCD patients, n = 111 healthy controls). Methods: First, an independent component analysis (ICA) was performed on all subjects’ preprocessed T1 images to derive covariance-dependent morphometric networks. Then, grey matter volume from each of the ICA-derived morphometric networks was extracted and compared between the groups. In addition, we performed logistic regressions and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analyses to investigate whether network-related grey matter volume could serve as a characteristic that allows to differentiate patients from healthy volunteers. Moreover, we assessed grey matter pattern organization by correlating grey matter volume in all networks across all participants. Finally, we explored a potential association between grey matter volume or whole-brain grey matter pattern organization and clinical characteristics in terms of symptom severity and duration of illness. Results: There were only subtle group differences in network-related grey matter volume. Network-related grey matter volume had moreover a very poor discrimination performance. We found, however, significant group differences with regard to grey matter pattern organization. When correlating grey matter volume in all networks across all participants, patients showed a significantly higher homogeneity across all networks and a significantly lower heterogeneity, as assessed by the coefficient of variation across all networks as well as in several single networks. There was no association with clinical characteristics. Conclusion: The findings of the present study suggest that the pathological mechanisms of OCD reduce interindividual grey matter variability. We assume that common characteristics associated with the disorder may lead to a more uniform, disorder-specific morphometry.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102727
JournalNeuroImage: Clinical
StatePublished - Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Duration of illness
  • Grey matter
  • ICA
  • OCD
  • Structural covariance


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