Emotion-Regulating Protein Lacking In Panic Disorder
Three brain areas of panic disorder patients are lacking in a key component of a chemical messenger system that regulates emotion, researchers at the NIH’s National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) have discovered. Brain scans revealed that a type of serotonin receptor is reduced by nearly a third in three structures straddling the center of the brain. The finding is the first in living humans to show that the receptor, which is pivotal to the action of widely prescribed anti-anxiety medications, may be abnormal in the disorder, and may help to explain how genes might influence vulnerability. Drs. Alexander Neumeister and Wayne Drevets, NIMH Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program, and colleagues, report on their findings in the January 21, 2004 Journal of Neuroscience.