Obsessive-compulsive symptoms and resting-state functional characteristics in pre-adolescent children from the general population

Cees J. Weeland*, Odile A. van den Heuvel, T. White, H. Tiemeier, C. Vriend

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

29 Downloads (Pure)


While functional brain characteristics of obsessive-compulsive disorder have been extensively studied, literature on network topology and subnetwork connectivity related to obsessive-compulsive symptoms (OCS) is sparse. Here we investigated the functional brain characteristics of OCS in children from the general population using a multiscale approach. Since we previously observed OCS-related differences in thalamus morphology, we also focused on the network participation of thalamic subregions. The study included 1701 participants (9–12 years) from the population-based Generation R study. OCS were measured using the Short Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Screener. We studied the brain network at multiple scales: global network topology, subnetwork connectivity and network participation of thalamic nodes (pre-registration: https://osf.io/azr9c). Modularity, small-worldness and average participation coefficient were calculated on the global scale. We used a data-driven consensus community approach to extract a partition of five subnetworks involving thalamic subregions and calculate the within- and between-subnetwork functional connectivity and topology. Multiple linear regression models were fitted to model the relationship between OCS and functional brain measures. No significant associations were found when using our preregistered definition of probable OCS. However, post-hoc analyses showed that children endorsing at least one OCS (compared with controls) had higher modularity, lower connectivity between frontoparietal, limbic and visual networks as well as altered participation of the lateral prefrontal thalamus node. Our results suggest that network characteristics of OCS in children from the general population are partly symptom-specific and severity-dependent. Thorough assessment of symptom dimensions can deepen our understanding of OCS-related brain networks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2715-2724
Number of pages10
JournalBrain Imaging and Behavior
Issue number6
Early online dateDec 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by grants from The Netherlands Organization for Health Research (ZonMw), VIDI grant awarded to Prof. dr. O.A. van den Heuvel (project number: 91717306), VICI grant awarded to Prof. dr. H. Tiemeier (project number: 016.VICI.170.200). Dr. C. Vriend received a grant from Brain Foundation (Hersenstichting) Netherlands (HA-2017-00227). The general design of the Generation R Study is made possible by financial support from the Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Erasmus University Rotterdam, ZonMw, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), and the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. Neuroimaging and the neuroimaging infrastructure was supported by the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMw) TOP grant awarded to dr. T. White (project number 91211021).

Funding Information:
We gratefully acknowledge the contribution of children and parents, general practitioners, hospitals, midwives, and pharmacies in Rotterdam for their participation in the Generation R study. The Generation R Study is conducted by the Erasmus Medical Center in close collaboration with the School of Law and Faculty of Social Sciences of the Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Municipal Health Service Rotterdam area, Rotterdam, the Rotterdam Homecare Foundation, Rotterdam, and the Stichting Trombosedienst & Artsenlaboratorium Rijnmond (STAR-MDC), Rotterdam. We thank Ryan Muetzel and Mònica Lopez Vicente for their work in preparing the data.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).


Dive into the research topics of 'Obsessive-compulsive symptoms and resting-state functional characteristics in pre-adolescent children from the general population'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this