What is the role of genetics in the etiology of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)?

Updated: May 17, 2018
  • Author: William M Greenberg, MD; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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Twin studies have supported strong heritability for OCD, with a genetic influence of 45-65% in studies in children and 27-47% in adults. [22] Monozygotic twins may be strikingly concordant for OCD (80-87%), compared with 47-50% concordance in dizygotic twins. [23] Several genetic studies have supported linkages to a variety of serotonergic, dopaminergic, and glutamatergic genes. [24, 25, 26, 27, 28]

Other genes putatively linked to OCD have included those coding for catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT), monoamine oxidase-A (MAO-A), brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG), GABA-type B-receptor 1, and the mu opioid receptor, but these must be considered provisional associations at this time. In some cohorts, OCD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and Tourette disorder/tic disorders co-vary in an autosomal dominant fashion with variable penetrance.

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