Dopaminsyntes och hjärnans belöningssystem vid behandling av social ångest

Tidsperiod: 2017-01-01 till 2019-12-31

Projektledare: Tomas Furmark

Finansiär: Vetenskapsrådet

Bidragstyp: Projektbidrag

Budget: 3 900 000 SEK

Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is a serious public health concern and to understand its causes and cures, the underlying brain anomalies need to be examined. Socially anxious and avoidant behavior could be related to aberrant brain activation patterns during reward processing which are dependent on dopamine neurotransmission. With the focus on dopamine functions, this project aims at investigating neuroimaging markers of SAD in patients that will undergo pharmacologic or psychosocial treatment. A total of 48 patients with SAD will be recruited via media advertisements and treated either with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) or cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT). Dopamine biosynthesis will be assessed using [11C]L-dopa positron emission tomography (PET) along with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) measurements of reward circuitry activations. Treatment mediation analyses including gray matter volume changes in fear- and reward-related neural networks will also be conducted. Prediction of treatment outcome, at the individual level, will be tested using neuroimaging parameters and support vector machine learning. Blood samples will be collected for analyses of gene polymorphisms, leukocyte telomere length and telomerase activity. Thus, the project will use state-of-the art imaging methods and novel data analytic approaches in an attempt to answer crucially important questions regarding the etiology, maintenance, and treatment of social anxiety.