Twelve patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) were investigated at rest using single photon emission computerized tomography with 99mTc-exametazime. The uptake of 99mTc-exametazime was expressed relative to calcarine/occipital cortex. Patients were matched for drug treatment with 12 patients with a major depressive episode and the patient groups were compared with a control group. Significant bilateral decreases in tracer uptake were confined to basal ganglia in the OCD group. There was a paradoxical positive correlation between anxiety ratings and tracer uptake to basal ganglia in the OCD group. The findings confirm that the functional topography of OCD implicates altered function in the basal ganglia.