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Microstructural alterations in cortico-subcortical connections are thought to be present in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). However, prior studies have yielded inconsistent findings, perhaps because small sample sizes provided insufficient power to detect subtle abnormalities. Here we investigated microstructural white matter alterations and their relation to clinical features in the largest dataset of adult and pediatric OCD to date. We analyzed diffusion tensor imaging metrics from 700 adult patients and 645 adult controls, as well as 174 pediatric patients and 144 pediatric controls across 19 sites participating in the ENIGMA OCD Working Group, in a cross-sectional case-control magnetic resonance study. We extracted measures of fractional anisotropy (FA) as main outcome, and mean diffusivity, radial diffusivity, and axial diffusivity as secondary outcomes for 25 white matter regions. We meta-analyzed patient-control group differences (Cohen's d) across sites, after adjusting for age and sex, and investigated associations with clinical characteristics. Adult OCD patients showed significant FA reduction in the sagittal stratum (d = -0.21, z = -3.21, p = 0.001) and posterior thalamic radiation (d = -0.26, z = -4.57, p 

Original publication




Journal article


Transl Psychiatry

Publication Date





Adult, Anisotropy, Brain, Child, Cross-Sectional Studies, Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Diffusion Tensor Imaging, Humans, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, White Matter