Influence of the catechol-O-methyltransferase val158met genotype on amygdala and prefrontal cortex emotional processing in panic disorder

Katharina Domschke, Patricia Ohrmann, Miriam Braun, Thomas Suslow, Jochen Bauer, Christa Hohoff, Anette Kersting, Almut Engelien, Volker Arolt, Walter Heindel, Jürgen Deckert, Harald Kugel
Psychiatry Research 2008 May 30, 163 (1): 13-20
Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder with an estimated heritability of up to 48%. The functional val158met polymorphism in the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene has been found to be associated with panic disorder and to influence limbic and prefrontal brain activation in response to unpleasant stimuli. In the present study, neuronal activation following emotional stimulation was used as an endophenotype and investigated for association with the COMT val158met polymorphism in panic disorder. Twenty patients with panic disorder were scanned by means of functional magnetic resonance imaging at 3 Tesla under visual presentation of emotional faces and genotyped for the COMT val158met polymorphism. In response to fearful faces, increased activation in the right amygdala was observed in patients carrying at least one 158val allele. Increased activation or less deactivation associated with the 158val allele was seen upon presentation of fearful, angry and happy faces in the orbitofrontal and ventromedial prefrontal cortex, respectively. Our data provide preliminary evidence for a role of the functional val158met COMT polymorphism in amygdala and prefrontal activation in response to emotional faces in panic disorder. This COMT variant might increase the vulnerability to panic disorder by modulating dopaminergic tonus in relevant brain regions and thus altering neuronal processing of anxiety-related emotional cues.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"