The present study was performed to assess cerebral glucose metabolism in patients with panic disorder using positron emission tomography. 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography with voxel-based analysis was used to compare regional brain glucose utilization in 12 nonmedicated panic disorder patients, without their experiencing panic attacks during positron emission tomography acquisition, with that in 22 healthy controls. Panic disorder patients showed appreciably high state anxiety before scanning, and exhibited significantly higher levels of glucose uptake in the bilateral amygdala, hippocampus, and thalamus, and in the midbrain, caudal pons, medulla, and cerebellum than controls. These results provided the first functional neuroimaging support in human patients for the neuroanatomical hypothesis of panic disorder focusing on the amygdala-based fear network.
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