The extended fronto-striatal model of obsessive compulsive disorder: Convergence from event-related potentials neuropsychology and neuroimaging

Margherita Melloni, Claudia Urbistondo, Lucas Sedeño, Carlos Gelormini, Rafael Kichic, Agustin Ibanez

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55 Scopus citations


In this work we explored convergent evidence supporting the fronto-striatal model of obsessive-compulsive disorder (FSMOCD) and the contribution of event-related potential (ERP) studies to this model. First we considered minor modifications to the FSMOCD model based on neuroimaging and neuropsychological data. We noted the brain areas most affected in this disorder -anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) basal ganglia (BG) and orbito-frontal cortex (OFC) and their related cognitive functions such as monitoring and inhibition. Then we assessed the ERPs that are directly related to the FSMOCD including the error-related negativity (ERN) N200 and P600. Several OCD studies present enhanced ERN and N2 responses during conflict tasks as well as an enhanced P600 during working memory (WM) tasks. Evidence from ERP studies (especially regarding ERN and N200 amplitude enhancement) neuroimaging and neuropsychological findings suggests abnormal activity in the OFC ACC and BG in OCD patients. Moreover additional findings from these analyses suggest dorsolateral prefrontal and parietal cortex involvement which might be related to executive function (EF) deficits. Thus these convergent results suggest the existence of a self-monitoring imbalance involving inhibitory deficits and executive dysfunctions. OCD patients present an impaired ability to monitor control and inhibit intrusive thoughts urges feelings and behaviors. In the current model this imbalance is triggered by an excitatory role of the BG (associated with cognitive or motor actions without volitional control) and inhibitory activity of the OFC as well as excessive monitoring of the ACC to block excitatory impulses. This imbalance would interact with the reduced activation of the parietal-DLPC network leading to executive dysfunction. ERP research may provide further insight regarding the temporal dynamics of action monitoring and executive functioning in OCD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number259
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Issue numberSEPTEMBER
StatePublished - 24 Sep 2012


  • ACC
  • Basal ganglia
  • Conflict monitoring
  • ERN
  • ERPs
  • Neuroimaging
  • OCD
  • OFC


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