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Endophentoypes, quantifiable traits lying on the causal chain between a clinical phenotype and etiology, can be used to accelerate genomic discovery in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Here we identify the neuroanatomic changes that are shared by 22 OCD adult and adolescent patients and 25 of their unaffected siblings who are at genetic risk for the disorder. Comparisons were made against 47 age and sex matched healthy controls. We defined the surface morphology of the striatum, globus pallidus and thalamus, and thickness of the cerebral cortex. Patients with OCD show significant surface expansion compared with healthy controls, following adjustment for multiple comparisons, in interconnected regions of the caudate, thalamus and right orbitofrontal cortex. Their unaffected siblings show similar, significant expansion, most marked in the ventromedial caudate bilaterally, the right pulvinar thalamic nucleus and the right orbitofrontal cortex. These regions define a network that has been consistently implicated in OCD. In addition, both patients with OCD and unaffected siblings showed similar increased thickness of the right precuneus, which receives rich input from the thalamic pulvinar nuclei and the left medial temporal cortex. Anatomic change within the orbitofrontostriatal and posterior brain circuitry thus emerges as a promising endophenotype for OCD.

Original publication




Journal article


Mol Psychiatry

Publication Date





224 - 231


Adolescent, Adult, Brain, Brain Mapping, Case-Control Studies, Child, Endophenotypes, Female, Humans, Image Processing, Computer-Assisted, Male, Neuroimaging, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Psychiatric Status Rating Scales, Young Adult