Altered Cortical-Amygdala Coupling in Social Anxiety Disorder During the Anticipation of Giving a Public Speech

Posted: 28 Oct 2016

See all articles by Henk Cremers

Henk Cremers

Radboud University Nijmegen

Ilya Veer

Universities of Marseille - Centre de la Vieille Charite

Philip Spinhoven

Leiden University

Serge Rombouts

Leiden University

Karin Roelofs

Radboud University Nijmegen

Tal Yarkoni

University of Texas at Austin - Department of Psychology

Tor Wager

University of Colorado at Boulder

Date Written: October 24, 2016

Abstract

Background. Severe stress in social situations is a core symptom of social anxiety disorder (SAD). Connectivity between the amygdala and cortical regions is thought to be important for emotion regulation, a function that is compromised in SAD. However, it has never been tested if and how this connectivity pattern changes under conditions of stress-inducing social evaluative threat. Here we investigate changes in cortical-amygdala coupling in SAD during the anticipation of giving a public speech.

Method. Twenty individuals with SAD and age-, gender- and education-matched controls (n = 20) participated in this study. During the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) session, participants underwent three ‘resting-state’ fMRI scans: one before, one during, and one after the anticipation of giving a public speech. Functional connectivity between cortical emotion regulation regions and the amygdala was investigated.

Results. Compared to controls, SAD participants showed reduced functional integration between cortical emotion regulation regions and the amygdala during the public speech anticipation. Moreover, in SAD participants cortical-amygdala connectivity changes correlated with social anxiety symptom severity.

Conclusions. The distinctive pattern of cortical-amygdala connectivity suggests less effective cortical-subcortical communication during social stress-provoking situations in SAD.

Suggested Citation

Cremers, Henk and Veer, Ilya and Spinhoven, Philip and Rombouts, Serge and Roelofs, Karin and Yarkoni, Tal and Wager, Tor, Altered Cortical-Amygdala Coupling in Social Anxiety Disorder During the Anticipation of Giving a Public Speech (October 24, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2858490

Henk Cremers

Radboud University Nijmegen ( email )

Postbus 9108
Nijmegen, 6500 HK
Netherlands

Ilya Veer

Universities of Marseille - Centre de la Vieille Charite ( email )

2, rue de la Charité
Marseille, 13 002
France

Philip Spinhoven

Leiden University ( email )

Serge Rombouts

Leiden University ( email )

Postbus 9500
Leiden, 2300 RA
Netherlands

Karin Roelofs

Radboud University Nijmegen ( email )

Postbus 9108
Nijmegen, 6500 HK
Netherlands

Tal Yarkoni

University of Texas at Austin - Department of Psychology ( email )

Austin, TX 78712
United States

Tor Wager (Contact Author)

University of Colorado at Boulder ( email )

Boulder, CO

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