OBJECTIVES: Animal model studies may allow greater elucidation of the cerebral circuits involved in the genesis of panic disorder (PD), but these studies have not yet been fully analyzed. METHODS: The authors review recent literature on the neurobiology and neuroanatomy of PD. RESULTS: In this update, the authors present a revision of data that demonstrates the existence of a "fear network", which has as its main point the central nucleus of the amygdale and includes the hypothalamus, the thalamus, the hippocampus, the periaqueductal gray region, the locus ceruleus and other brainstem structures. Its existence is evidenced in animal studies of emotional and behavioral states, and its presence and importance can be extrapolated to the study of PD in humans. CONCLUSION: This fear network can allow new progresses and studies using neuroimaging techniques and/or psychopharmacological trials, further elucidating the cerebral circuits of PD.
Neurobiology; Panic disorder; Neuroanatomy; Fear; Anxiety; Conditioning (psychology)