Increased brainstem volume in panic disorder: A voxel-based morphometric study

Xenia Protopopescu, Hong Pan, Oliver Tuescher, Marylene Cloitre, Martin Goldstein, Almut Engelien, Yihong Yang, Jack Gorman, Joseph LeDoux, Emily Stern, David Silbersweig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Neurocircuitry models of panic disorder have hypothesized that the panic attack itself stems from loci in the brainstem including the ascending reticular system and respiratory and cardiovascular control centers. Voxel-based morphometry with acobian modulation was used to examine gray matter volume changes in 10 panic disorder patients and 23 healthy controls. The panic disorder patients had a relatively increased gray matter volume in the midbrain and rostral pons of the brainstem. Increased ventral hippocampal and decreased regional prefrontal cortex volumes were also noted at a lower significance threshold. This finding has implications for pathophysiologic models of panic disorder, and provides structural evidence for the role of the brainstem in neurocircuitry models of panic disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-363
Number of pages3
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2006


  • Brain structure
  • Brainstem
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Neuroimaging
  • Panic disorder
  • Voxel-based morphometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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