Stress might exaggerate the compulsion and impair the working memory of patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). This study evaluated the effect of stress on the cognitive neural processing of working memory in OCD and its clinical significance using a “number calculation working memory” task. Thirty-eight patients and 55 gender- and education-matched healthy controls were examined. Stress impaired the performance of the manipulation task in patients. Healthy controls showed less engagement of the medial prefrontal cortex and striatum during the task under stress versus less stress, which was absent in the patients with OCD. The diagnosis × stress interaction effect was significant in the right fusiform, supplementary motor area, precentral cortex and caudate. The failure of suppression of the medial prefrontal cortex and striatum and stress-related hyperactivation in the right fusiform, supplementary motor area, precentral cortex, and caudate might be an OCD-related psychopathological and neural response to stress.
- Acute stress
- Functional magnetic resonance imaging
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Working memory
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