Obsessive - compulsive disorder

(Prof. Dr. Michael Wagner, M.Sc. Katharina Bey)

Obsessive compulsive disorder is a relatively common (1 – 3%) and often chronic mental illness, leading to serious loss of function and suffering in those affected. Although various risk factors in the form of genetic and environmental influences are well documented, the exact interference mechanisms of OCD are only to some extent understood. By examining cognitive and emotional functions, clinical characteristics, personality traits and brain structural and functional parameters, the working group's research efforts aim to gain a better understanding of the Etiology of obsessive compulsive disorder and thus also on the further improvement of the forms of therapy.


  • Genetics and epigenetics of obsessive compulsive disorder; Participation in the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC)
  • Identification of endophänotypes
  • Connections between different levels of disturbance: Genetics, brain physiology, cognition, behavior, symptoms
  • Optimizing therapeutic approaches

Research Projects (DFG)

EPOC (since 2014): Neurocognitive endophänotypes of obsessive compulsive disorder and its brain correlates

Publications (selection):

  • Bey, K., Lennertz, L., Grützmann, R. L., Heinzel, S., Kaufmann, C., Klawohn, J., Riesel, A., Meyhöfer, I., Ettinger, U., Kathmann N., & Wagner, M. (2018). Impaired antisaccades in obsessive-compulsive disorder: evidence from meta-analysis and a large empirical study. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 9, 284. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30008679
  • Bey, K., Lennertz, L., Riesel, A., Klawohn, J., Kaufmann, C., Heinzel, S., Grützmann, R., Kathmann, N., & Wagner, M. (2017). Harm avoidance and childhood adversities in patients with obsessive–compulsive disorder and their unaffected first‚Äźdegree relatives. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 135(4), 328-338. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28160276
  • Bey, K., Meyhöfer, I., Lennertz, L., Grützmann, R., Heinzel, S., Kaufmann, C., Klawohn, J., Riesel, A., Ettinger, U., Kathmann, N., & Wagner, M. (2018). Schizotypy and smooth pursuit eye movements as potential endophenotypes of obsessive-compulsive disorder. European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, 1-9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29721727
  • Grützmann, R., Riesel, A., Klawohn, J., Heinzel, S., Kaufmann, C., Bey, K., Lennertz, L., Wagner, M., & Kathmann, N. (2017). Frontal alpha asymmetry in OCD patients and unaffected first-degree relatives. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 126(6), 750-760. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28541065
  • Heinzel, S., Kaufmann, C., Grützmann, R., Hummel, R., Klawohn, J., Riesel, A., Bey, K., Lennertz, L., Wagner, M. & Kathmann, N. (2018). Neural correlates of working memory deficits and associations to response inhibition in obsessive compulsive disorder. NeuroImage: Clinical, 17, 426-434. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29159055

GENOS (2002 to 2007): Clinical heterogeneity and familiarity of obsessive compulsive disorder

Publications (selection):

  • Grabe, H. J., Ruhrmann, S., Ettelt, S., Buhtz, F., Hochrein, A., Schulze-Rauschenbach, S., ... & Wagner, M. (2006). Familiality of obsessive-compulsive disorder in nonclinical and clinical subjects. American Journal of Psychiatry, 163(11), 1986-1992. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17074951
  • Ettelt, S., Grabe, H. J., Ruhrmann, S., Buhtz, F., Hochrein, A., Kraft, S., ... & Wagner, M. (2008). Harm avoidance in subjects with obsessive-compulsive disorder and their families. Journal of Affective Disorders, 107(1-3), 265-269. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17854908
  • Ettelt, S., Ruhrmann, S., Barnow, S., Buthz, F., Hochrein, A., Meyer, K., ... Wagner, M., … & Grabe. H. J. (2007). Impulsiveness in obsessive–compulsive disorder: results from a family study. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 115(1), 41-47. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17201865
  • Noh, H. J., Tang, R., Flannick, J., O’Dushlaine, C., Swofford, R., Howrigan, D., ... Wagner, M., … & Lindblad-Toh, K. (2017). Integrating evolutionary and regulatory information with a multispecies approach implicates genes and pathways in obsessive-compulsive disorder. Nature Communications, 8(1), 774. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29042551
  • Stewart, S. E., Yu, D., Scharf, J. M., Neale, B. M., Fagerness, J. A., Mathews, C. A., ... Wagner, M., … & Pauls, D. L. (2013). Genome-wide association study of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Molecular Psychiatry, 18(7), 788-798. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22889921

We appreciate the support by patients. Study participation and participation in outpatient group therapy for obsessive compulsive disorder are possible independently of each other. If you are interested, please contact Ms. M.Sc. Katharina Bey (0228-287-16859).