The prevalence of the obsessive-compulsive symptoms in schizophrenia (OCSS) appears to be higher than that expected on the basis of comorbidity rates. Review of brain abnormalities in schizophrenia and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) reveals involvement of similar regions namely the frontal lobe, the basal ganglia, the thalamus, and the cerebellum, in both the disorders. Neurodevelopmental etiopathogenesis has been proposed to explain schizophrenia as well as OCD. Significant overlap in neurotransmitter dysfunction (serotonin, glutamate, and dopamine) has been documented between schizophrenia and OCD. The New-onset obsessive-compulsive (OC) symptoms have been reported with the use of atypical antipsychotics in the schizophrenia patients In this background, OCSS is an emerging area of recent interests. This article attempts to review the literature on the neurobiology of OCSS. Neuroimaging, neuropsychological, and neuromotor abnormalities in OCSS discussed in the context of neurodevelopmental etiopathogenesis suggest glutamate abnormalities in OCSS. Atypical antipsychotic induced OCSS points towards the possible roles of glutamate and serotonin. Dopamine may be responsible for the beneficial role of antipsychotics in the treatment of OCD. In summary, we propose that glutamate, serotonin, and dopamine abnormalities may be the probable basis for OCSS.
Keywords: Schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive symptoms, neurodevelopment