ENIGMA-anxiety working group: Rationale for and organization of large-scale neuroimaging studies of anxiety disorders

ENIGMA-Anxiety Working Group, Janna Marie Bas-Hoogendam*, Nynke A. Groenewold, Moji Aghajani, Gabrielle F. Freitag, Anita Harrewijn, Kevin Hilbert, Neda Jahanshad, Sophia I. Thomopoulos, Paul M. Thompson, Dick J. Veltman, Anderson M. Winkler, Ulrike Lueken, Daniel S. Pine, Nic J.A. van der Wee, Dan J. Stein, Federica Agosta, Fredrik Åhs, Iseul An, Bianca A.V. AlbertonCarmen Andreescu, Takeshi Asami, Michal Assaf, Suzanne N. Avery, L. Nicholas, Balderston, Jacques P. Barber, Marco Battaglia, Ali Bayram, Katja Beesdo-Baum, Francesco Benedetti, Rachel Berta, Johannes Björkstrand, Jennifer Urbano Blackford, James R. Blair, S. Karina, Blair, Stephanie Boehme, Paolo Brambilla, Katie Burkhouse, Marta Cano, Elisa Canu, Elise M. Cardinale, Narcis Cardoner, Jacqueline A. Clauss, Camilla Cividini, Hugo D. Critchley, Sang Hyuk Lee, Elena Makovac, Frances Meeten, P. Martin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Anxiety disorders are highly prevalent and disabling but seem particularly tractable to investigation with translational neuroscience methodologies. Neuroimaging has informed our understanding of the neurobiology of anxiety disorders, but research has been limited by small sample sizes and low statistical power, as well as heterogenous imaging methodology. The ENIGMA-Anxiety Working Group has brought together researchers from around the world, in a harmonized and coordinated effort to address these challenges and generate more robust and reproducible findings. This paper elaborates on the concepts and methods informing the work of the working group to date, and describes the initial approach of the four subgroups studying generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and specific phobia. At present, the ENIGMA-Anxiety database contains information about more than 100 unique samples, from 16 countries and 59 institutes. Future directions include examining additional imaging modalities, integrating imaging and genetic data, and collaborating with other ENIGMA working groups. The ENIGMA consortium creates synergy at the intersection of global mental health and clinical neuroscience, and the ENIGMA-Anxiety Working Group extends the promise of this approach to neuroimaging research on anxiety disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-112
Number of pages30
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


  • amygdala
  • anxiety disorders
  • genetics
  • limbic system
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • neuroimaging
  • prefrontal cortex


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