Variability and anatomical specificity of the orbitofrontothalamic fibers of passage in the ventral capsule/ventral striatum (VC/VS): precision care for patient-specific tractography-guided targeting of deep brain stimulation (DBS) in obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)

Makris N, Rathi Y, Mouradian P, Bonmassar G, Papadimitriou G, Ing WI, Yeterian EH, Kubicki M, Eskandar EN, Wald LL, Fan Q, Nummenmaa A, Widge AS, Dougherty DD

Brain Imaging Behav 2016 12;10(4):1054-1067

PMID: 26518214


Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) is a neurosurgical procedure that can reduce symptoms in medically intractable obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Conceptually, DBS of the ventral capsule/ventral striatum (VC/VS) region targets reciprocal excitatory connections between the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) and thalamus, decreasing abnormal reverberant activity within the OFC-caudate-pallidal-thalamic circuit. In this study, we investigated these connections using diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI) on human connectome datasets of twenty-nine healthy young-adult volunteers with two-tensor unscented Kalman filter based tractography. We studied the morphology of the lateral and medial orbitofrontothalamic connections and estimated their topographic variability within the VC/VS region. Our results showed that the morphology of the individual orbitofrontothalamic fibers of passage in the VC/VS region is complex and inter-individual variability in their topography is high. We applied this method to an example OCD patient case who underwent DBS surgery, formulating an initial proof of concept for a tractography-guided patient-specific approach in DBS for medically intractable OCD. This may improve on current surgical practice, which involves implanting all patients at identical stereotactic coordinates within the VC/VS region.