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J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci. 1989 Winter;1(1):27-36.

Neurophysiologic dysfunction in basal ganglia/limbic striatal and thalamocortical circuits as a pathogenetic mechanism of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor.


This article is intended to elucidate some of the neuropathogenetic mechanisms possibly operative in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Relevant literature is reviewed, with attention to psychologic, and pathologic considerations. Anatomy, neurochemistry, and known functional associations with neuropathological and behavioral abnormalities of implicated brain regions are discussed. The authors propose that dysfunction of neuronal circuits interconnecting the orbitofrontal cortex, basal ganglia/limbic striatum, and thalamus serves a critical role in the pathogenesis of OCD and that obsessive-compulsive symptoms occur when an aberrant positive feedback loop develops in the reciprocally excitatory frontothalamic neuronal interchange, which is inadequately integrated or inhibited by the ventromedial (limbic) portions of the striatum; the ventromedial striatum may serve to modulate activity in the frontothalamic circuit through a negative feedback loop.

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[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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