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Biol Psychiatry. 2003 Oct 1;54(7):751-6.

Brain activation by disgust-inducing pictures in obsessive-compulsive disorder.

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Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA.



There is growing interest in the role of disgust in the pathogenesis of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).


Eight OCD subjects with contamination preoccupations and eight gender- and age-matched healthy volunteers viewed pictures from the International Affective Picture System during functional magnetic resonance imaging scans.


A different distribution of brain activations was found during disgust-inducing visual stimulation in several areas, most notably the insula, compared with neutral stimulation in both OCD subjects and healthy volunteers. Furthermore, whereas activation during the threat-inducing task in OCD subjects showed a pattern similar to that in healthy volunteers, the pattern of activation during the disgust-inducing task was significantly different, including greater increases in the right insula, parahippocampal region, and inferior frontal sites.


This pilot study supports the relevance of disgust in the neurocircuitry of OCD with contamination-preoccupation symptoms; future studies looking at non-OCD individuals with high disgust ratings, non-contamination-preoccupied OCD individuals, and individuals with other anxiety disorders are needed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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