Journal Article
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
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Potential panic disorder syndrome: clinical and genetic linkage evidence.

This paper reports evidence for a possible "chromosome 13 syndrome," which includes panic disorder, kidney or bladder problems, serious headaches, thyroid problems (usually hypothyroid), and/or mitral valve prolapse (MVP). In the course of a genetic linkage study of panic disorder, we noted these medical conditions in individual family members. (We were blind to family relationships and marker data.) We hypothesized that there may exist a subgroup of panic families with these medical conditions, which for simplicity we called it the "syndrome." Subsequently we reclassified the families as with or without the "syndrome" and extended the phenotype for analysis to include the above medical conditions. All these classifications were also done before the analysis and blind to marker data. We then examined our linkage results, looking for significant differences between families with and without the "syndrome" (using several definitions of the "syndrome")-i.e., testing for genetic heterogeneity. When the families with and without bladder/kidney problems were separated from each other, one marker-D13S779 (ATA26D07)-yielded a lod score of over 3 in the families with bladder/kidney problems. This lod score went up to 4.2 in these families when we diagnosed any individual with any one of the "syndrome" conditions as affected. These results were statistically significant even after applying an extremely overconservative Bonferroni correction for multiple tests. We present these results in order to alert other investigators working on panic disorder, for replication. If replicated, one may hypothesize that a candidate gene for the syndrome should be expressed in CNS, kidney, gut, thyroid, etc. We also noted that two independent studies report recent linkage findings between schizophrenia and the same region on chromosome 13. No connection between schizophrenia and panic disorder has ever been reported. Finally, we suggest that genetic studies of psychiatric disorders might prove more fruitful if phenotypes were expanded to include possible manifestations of the disorder in medical (non-mental) symptoms. Am. J. Med. Genet.(Neuropsychiatr. Genet.) 96:24-35, 2000.

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