An examination of rostral anterior cingulate cortex function and neurochemistry in obsessive-compulsive disorder

Brian P. Brennan, Olga Tkachenko, Zachary J. Schwab, Richard J. Juelich, Erin M. Ryan, Alison J. Athey, Harrison G. Pope, Michael A. Jenike, Justin T. Baker, William Ds Killgore, James I. Hudson, J. Eric Jensen, Scott L. Rauch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


The anterior cingulate cortex is implicated in the neurobiology of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). However, few studies have examined functional and neurochemical abnormalities specifically in the rostral subdivision of the ACC (rACC) in OCD patients. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during an emotional counting Stroop task and single-voxel J-resolved proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1 H-MRS) in the rACC to examine the function and neurochemistry of the rACC in individuals with OCD and comparison individuals without OCD. Between-group differences in rACC activation and glutamine/glutamate ratio (Gln/Glu), Glu, and Gln levels, as well as associations between rACC activation, Gln/Glu, Glu, Gln, behavioral, and clinical measures were examined using linear regression. In a sample of 30 participants with OCD and 29 age-and sex-matched participants without OCD, participants with OCD displayed significantly reduced rACC deactivation compared with those without OCD in response to OCD-specific words versus neutral words on the emotional counting Stroop task. However, Gln/Glu, Glu, and Gln in the rACC did not differ between groups nor was there an association between reduced rACC deactivation and Gln/Glu, Glu, or Gln in the OCD group. Taken together, these findings strengthen the evidence for rACC dysfunction in OCD, but weigh against an underlying association with abnormal rACC glutamatergic neurotransmission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1866-1876
Number of pages11
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jul 13 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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