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White matter alterations in social anxiety disorder


Baur, Volker; Hänggi, Jürgen; Rufer, Michael; Delsignore, Aba; Jäncke, Lutz; Herwig, Uwe; Brühl, Annette Beatrix (2011). White matter alterations in social anxiety disorder. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 45(10):1366-1372.

Abstract

White matter architecture in patients with social anxiety disorder (SAD) has rarely been investigated, but may yield insights with respect to altered structural brain connectivity. Initial evidence points to alterations in the uncinate fasciculus (UF). We applied diffusion tensor imaging in 25 patients with SAD and 25 matched healthy subjects. Whole-brain fractional anisotropy (FA) maps were used for group comparison and voxel-wise correlation with psychometric and clinical measures. Additionally, a region-of-interest analysis of the UF was performed. Patients with SAD had reduced FA compared to healthy subjects in or near the left UF and the left superior longitudinal fasciculus. There were no regions with increased FA in SAD. In the region-of-interest analysis, a negative correlation between FA and trait anxiety was identified in the left and right UF in patients, but not in healthy subjects. No correlations with social anxiety scores were observed. The present study partially confirms previous results pointing to frontal WM alterations in or near the UF in patients with SAD. SAD-specific dimensional associations of FA with trait anxiety might reflect general pathological and/or compensatory mechanisms as a function of symptom severity in patients. Future studies should disentangle in which way the identified WM alterations match functional alterations.

White matter architecture in patients with social anxiety disorder (SAD) has rarely been investigated, but may yield insights with respect to altered structural brain connectivity. Initial evidence points to alterations in the uncinate fasciculus (UF). We applied diffusion tensor imaging in 25 patients with SAD and 25 matched healthy subjects. Whole-brain fractional anisotropy (FA) maps were used for group comparison and voxel-wise correlation with psychometric and clinical measures. Additionally, a region-of-interest analysis of the UF was performed. Patients with SAD had reduced FA compared to healthy subjects in or near the left UF and the left superior longitudinal fasciculus. There were no regions with increased FA in SAD. In the region-of-interest analysis, a negative correlation between FA and trait anxiety was identified in the left and right UF in patients, but not in healthy subjects. No correlations with social anxiety scores were observed. The present study partially confirms previous results pointing to frontal WM alterations in or near the UF in patients with SAD. SAD-specific dimensional associations of FA with trait anxiety might reflect general pathological and/or compensatory mechanisms as a function of symptom severity in patients. Future studies should disentangle in which way the identified WM alterations match functional alterations.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Clinical and Social Psychiatry Zurich West (former)
04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Center for Medical Research
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
150 Psychology
610 Medicine & health
Uncontrolled Keywords:Social anxiety disorder; Diffusion tensor imaging; White matter connectivity; Fractional anisotropy; Uncinate fasciculus; Trait anxiety
Language:English
Date:2011
Deposited On:25 Nov 2011 10:07
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:07
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0022-3956
Publisher DOI:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2011.05.007
PubMed ID:21705018

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