Common abnormality of gray matter integrity in substance use disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder: A comparative voxel-based meta-analysis

Benjamin Klugah-Brown, Chenyang Jiang, Elijah Agoalikum, Xinqi Zhou, Liye Zou, Qian Yu, Benjamin Becker, Bharat Biswal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The objective of the current study is to determine robust transdiagnostic brain structural markers for compulsivity by capitalizing on the increasing number of case-control studies examining gray matter volume (GMV) alterations in substance use disorders (SUD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Voxel-based meta-analysis within the individual disorders and conjunction analysis were employed to reveal common GMV alterations between SUDs and OCD. Meta-analytic coordinates and signed brain volumetric maps determining directed (reduced/increased) GMV alterations between the disorder groups and controls served as the primary outcome. The separate meta-analysis demonstrated that SUD and OCD patients exhibited widespread GMV reductions in frontocortical regions including prefrontal, cingulate, and insular. Conjunction analysis revealed that the left inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) consistently exhibited decreased GMV across all disorders. Functional characterization suggests that the IFG represents a core hub in the cognitive control network and exhibits bidirectional (Granger) causal interactions with the striatum. Only OCD showed increased GMV in the dorsal striatum with higher changes being associated with more severe OCD symptomatology. Together the findings demonstrate robustly decreased GMV across the disorders in the left IFG, suggesting a transdiagnostic brain structural marker. The functional characterization as a key hub in the cognitive control network and casual interactions with the striatum suggest that deficits in inhibitory control mechanisms may promote compulsivity and loss of control that characterize both disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3871-3886
Number of pages16
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number12
StatePublished - Aug 15 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anatomy
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


  • compulsivity
  • coordinate-based meta-analysis
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • substance use disorder
  • voxel-based morphometry


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