Red cell membrane omega-3 fatty acids are decreased in nondepressed patients with social anxiety disorder

Pnina Green, Haggai Hermesh, Assaf Monselise, Sofi Marom, Gadi Presburger, Abraham Weizman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The "phospholipid hypothesis" attributes a pathophysiologic role to the polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) composition of phospholipids in depression. The aim of the present study was to determine whether the hypothesis is relevant to social anxiety disorder (SAD). The study sample consisted of 27 untreated, nondepressed patients with SAD (DSM-IV) and 22 controls. Severity of SAD was assessed with the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS). Erythrocyte PUFA concentrations were measured by gas-liquid chromatography. Concentrations of most n-3 PUFAs were lower in the patients: 18 : 3n-3 by 32% (p < 0.002), 20 : 3n-3 by 34%, 20 : 5n-3 by 36% (all p < 0.001) and 22 : 6n-3 by 18% (p = 0.002). No significant differences were observed in other fatty acids. Significant inverse correlations were obtained between levels of n-3 PUFAs and LSAS scores. In conclusion, the phospholipid hypothesis may apply to SAD, thereby opening new therapeutic options. The robust relationship between low erythrocyte n-3 PUFA concentrations and SAD justifies exploration of relevant neuropathophysiological mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-113
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Neuropsychopharmacology
Volume16
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2006
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Erythrocytes
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids
  • Red blood cells
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Social phobia

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