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Disruption of effective connectivity from the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex to the orbitofrontal cortex by negative emotional distraction in obsessive–compulsive disorder

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 December 2015

H. J. Han
Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, College of Natural Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea
W. H. Jung
Medical Research Center, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, South Korea Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA
J.-Y. Yun
Medical Research Center, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, South Korea Department of Psychiatry, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea
J. W. Park
Department of Psychiatry, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea
K. K. Cho
Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, College of Natural Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea
J.-W. Hur
Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, College of Natural Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea Medical Research Center, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, South Korea
N. Y. Shin
Medical Research Center, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, South Korea
T. Y. Lee
Medical Research Center, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, South Korea
J. S. Kwon*
Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, College of Natural Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea Medical Research Center, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, South Korea Department of Psychiatry, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea
*Address for correspondence: J. S. Kwon, M. D., Ph.D., Department of Psychiatry, Seoul National University College of Medicine, 28 Yeongon-dong, Chongno-gu, Seoul 110-744, South Korea. (Email:



Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) has been associated with abnormal cognitive and emotional functions and these dysfunctions may be dependent on the disruption of dynamic interactions within neuronal circuits associated with emotion regulation. Although several studies have shown the aberrant cognitive–affective processing in OCD patients, little is known about how to characterize effective connectivity of the disrupted neural interactions. In the present study, we applied effective connectivity analysis using dynamic causal modeling to explore the disturbed neural interactions in OCD patients.


A total of 20 patients and 21 matched healthy controls performed a delayed-response working memory task under emotional or non-emotional distraction while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging.


During the delay interval under negative emotional distraction, both groups showed similar patterns of activations in the amygdala. However, under negative emotional distraction, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) exhibited significant differences between groups. Bayesian model averaging indicated that the connection from the DLPFC to the OFC was negatively modulated by negative emotional distraction in patients, when compared with healthy controls (p < 0.05, Bonferroni-corrected).


Exaggerated recruitment of the DLPFC may induce the reduction of top-down prefrontal control input over the OFC, leading to abnormal cortico-cortical interaction. This disrupted cortico-cortical interaction under negative emotional distraction may be responsible for dysfunctions of cognitive and emotional processing in OCD patients and may be a component of the pathophysiology associated with OCD.

Original Articles
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2015 

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