Etiology and Neurobiology of Social Anxiety Disorder
J Clin Psychiatry 2006;67(suppl 12):9-13
© Copyright 2015 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.
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Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is influenced by multiple genetic and environmental factors. Imaging
genomics combines genotyping with neuroradiological techniques, such as functional MRI
(fMRI) and positron emission tomography (PET), to investigate samples relevant to psychiatric
pathophysiology. Neuroanatomical areas implicated in SAD include the amygdala, prefrontal cortex,
hippocampus, and striatum. Recent investigations have suggested that allelic polymorphisms may
play a role in the disorder; 2 candidate genes, the serotonin transporter (SLC6A4) and catechol-O-methyl
transferase (COMT), are described. The biology of extinction learning is relevant to therapeutic
approaches that aim to augment existing psychotherapies. In the future, novel uses of imaging
genomics integrated with rational, biologically informed treatments will offer a more refined understanding
of this complex and disabling disorder.