Immune system and obsessive-compulsive disorder

Donatella Marazziti, Federico Mucci, Leonardo F. Fontenelle

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Recently, much attention has been devoted to the possible alterations of the immune system in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Therefore, the aim of this paper was to review the current literature on the relationships between OCD and immune system. Methods: A PubMed and Google Scholar search was performed with specific keywords. Results: In the childhood, much emphasis has been given to the relationship between group A Streptococcus (GAS) infection and the development of a group of clinical syndromes characterized by neuropsychiatric symptoms known as “pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcus” (PANDAS). However, more recently, PANDAS has been reconsidered and evolved towards pediatric acute-onset neuropsychiatric syndrome (PANS) and/or Childhood Acute Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (CANS) all characterized by the presence of typical of OCD symptoms and tics. In adult OCD patients, different immunological parameters have been described to differ from those of healthy control subjects, although a few numbers of studies were carred out and most of them performed in small samples. Conclusions: Although the exact relationships between OCD and immune processes are still unclear, available literature supports their role in the pathophysiology of OCD, while providing a fascinating hint for possible immunotherapeutic treatments in OCD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-44
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Adult OCD
  • CANS
  • Childood OCD
  • Cytokines
  • Immune system
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • PANS
  • Streptococcus infections

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