Metabolic Brain Disease

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 569–581 | Cite as

Resting regional brain metabolism in social anxiety disorder and the effect of moclobemide therapy

  • Alex Doruyter
  • Patrick Dupont
  • Lian Taljaard
  • Dan J. Stein
  • Christine Lochner
  • James M. Warwick
Original Article


While there is mounting evidence of abnormal reactivity of several brain regions in social anxiety disorder, and disrupted functional connectivity between these regions at rest, relatively little is known regarding resting regional neural activity in these structures, or how such activity is affected by pharmacotherapy. Using 2-deoxy-2-(F-18)fluoro-D-glucose positron emission tomography, we compared resting regional brain metabolism between SAD and healthy control groups; and in SAD participants before and after moclobemide therapy. Voxel-based analyses were confined to a predefined search volume. A second, exploratory whole-brain analysis was conducted using a more liberal statistical threshold. Fifteen SAD participants and fifteen matched controls were included in the group comparison. A subgroup of SAD participants (n = 11) was included in the therapy effect comparison. No significant clusters were identified in the primary analysis. In the exploratory analysis, the SAD group exhibited increased metabolism in left fusiform gyrus and right temporal pole. After therapy, SAD participants exhibited reductions in regional metabolism in a medial dorsal prefrontal region and increases in right caudate, right insula and left postcentral gyrus. This study adds to the limited existing work on resting regional brain activity in SAD and the effects of therapy. The negative results of our primary analysis suggest that resting regional activity differences in the disorder, and moclobemide effects on regional metabolism, if present, are small. While the outcomes of our secondary analysis should be interpreted with caution, they may contribute to formulating future hypotheses or in pooled analyses.


Social anxiety disorder Moclobemide therapy Positron emission tomography Fluorodeoxyglucose Regional metabolism Resting state 



The PhD from which this study emanated was funded by the South African Medical Research Council under the MRC Clinician Researcher Programme. Study costs were funded by the Nuclear Technologies in Medicine and the Biosciences Initiative (NTeMBI), a national technology platform developed and managed by the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa) and funded by the department of Science and Technology; and the Harry Crossley Foundation.

Author’s contributors

Data collection: A Doruyter, L Taljaard, C Lochner.

Data processing and analysis: A Doruyter, P Dupont.

Manuscript: A Doruyter.

Manuscript review: All authors.

Supervisors: JM Warwick, C Lochner.

Compliance with ethical standards

None of the funders played any role in study design; collection, analysis, or interpretation of data; in the writing of this article or in the decision to submit it for publication.

Disclosure of potential conflicts of interest

This study was funded by the South African Medical Research Council under the MRC Clinician Researcher Programme; the Nuclear Technologies in Medicine and the Biosciences Initiative (NTeMBI), a national technology platform developed and managed by the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa) and funded by the department of Science and Technology; and the Harry Crossley Foundation.

Profs Stein and Lochner receive funding from the MRC.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Nuclear Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health SciencesStellenbosch UniversityCape TownSouth Africa
  2. 2.Laboratory of Cognitive Neurology, Department of NeurosciencesKU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  3. 3.MRC Unit on Risk and Resilience in Mental Disorders, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine and Health SciencesStellenbosch UniversityCape TownSouth Africa
  4. 4.MRC Unit on Risk and Resilience in Mental Disorders, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Health SciencesUniversity of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa

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