Abnormal regional benzodiazepine receptor uptake in the prefrontal cortex in patients with panic disorder.
Kuikka JT, Pitkanen A, Lepola U, Partanen K, Vainio P, Bergstrom KA, Wieler HJ, Kaiser KP, Mittelbach L, Koponen H, et al.
The neuroanatomical networks involved in the initiation of panic attack and the maintenance of panic disorder are poorly understood. This study aimed to elucidate the possible abnormalities in benzodiazepine receptor uptake in the brain of patients with panic disorder. Seventeen unmedicated patients with panic disorder were investigated using 123I-iomazenil single photon emission tomography (SPET). Seventeen healthy age- and sex-matched volunteers served as controls. The SPET scan was taken 90 min after injection of tracer. Eleven of 17 patients (65%) showed an increased (> 2 S.D. higher than the mean of the controls) right-to-left ratio of benzodiazepine receptor uptake in the prefrontal cortex. Also, the mean right-to-left ratio of benzodiazepine receptor uptake in all 17 patients with panic disorder was higher than in the controls (P < 0.001). Our SPET study demonstrated focally altered benzodiazepine receptor uptake in the prefrontal cortices in patients with panic disorder. Magnetic resonance imaging indicated that the affected region was located in the right middle and inferior frontal gyri. The deterioration in information processing in the right prefrontal cortex may be implicated in the generation of panic disorder.