A magnetic resonance spectroscopy investigation of obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety

Stephen P. Whiteside, John D. Port, Brett J. Deacon, Jonathan S. Abramowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


The aim of the current study was to use proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to investigate potential irregularities in neurochemical compounds in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and the extent to which these irregularities are related to state anxiety. Single voxel MRS was used to image the head of the caudate nucleus (HOC) and orbitofrontal white matter (OFWM) bilaterally in adult patients with OCD and a control group. The results indicated that patients with OCD had increased levels of a combined measure of glutamate and glutamine (Glx/Cr) and N-acetyl-l-aspartic acid (NAA/Cr) relative to creatine in the right OFWM and reduced levels of myo-inositol relative to creatine (mI/Cr) in the HOC bilaterally. Correlational analyses indicated that Glx/Cr in the OFWM was related to OCD symptoms, while mI/Cr in the HOC was related to trait and/or state anxiety. Reanalysis of the significant group differences controlling for state anxiety symptoms erased three of the four group differences. These results are discussed in context of the methodological difficulties facing this area of research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-147
Number of pages11
JournalPsychiatry Research - Neuroimaging
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 31 2006


  • Anxiety
  • Caudate
  • Magnetic resonance spectroscopy
  • Neuroimaging
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Orbitofrontal white matter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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