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A Critical Review of Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy Studies of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

  • Brian P. Brennan
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to Brian P. Brennan, M.D., McLean Hospital, Biological Psychiatry Laboratory, 115 Mill Street, Belmont, MA 02478
    Affiliations
    Biological Psychiatry Laboratory, McLean Hospital, Belmont, Massachusetts

    Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders Institute, McLean Hospital, Belmont, Massachusetts

    Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
    Search for articles by this author
  • Scott L. Rauch
    Affiliations
    Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience Laboratory, McLean Hospital, Belmont, Massachusetts

    Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • J. Eric Jensen
    Affiliations
    Brain Imaging Center, McLean Hospital, Belmont, Massachusetts

    Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Harrison G. Pope Jr.
    Affiliations
    Biological Psychiatry Laboratory, McLean Hospital, Belmont, Massachusetts

    Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
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      Functional neuroimaging studies have converged to suggest that cortico-striatal-thalamo-cortical (CSTC) circuit dysfunction is a core pathophysiologic feature of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Now, complementary approaches examining regional neurochemistry are beginning to yield additional insights with regard to the neurobiology of aberrant CSTC circuitry in OCD. In particular, proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy, which allows for the in vivo quantification of various neurochemicals in the CSTC circuit and other brain regions, has recently been used extensively in studies of OCD patients. In this review, we summarize the diverse and often seemingly inconsistent findings of these studies, consider methodological factors that might help to explain these inconsistencies, and discuss several convergent findings that tentatively seem to be emerging. We conclude with suggestions for possible future proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy studies in OCD.

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