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Open Access Review

The role of the amygdala in the pathophysiology of panic disorder: evidence from neuroimaging studies

Jieun E Kim1, Stephen R Dager2 and In Kyoon Lyoo23*

Author affiliations

1 Department of Brain & Cognitive Sciences, Graduate School, Ewha Womans University, 52 Ewhayeodae-gil, Seodaemun-gu, 120-750, Seoul, South Korea

2 Department of Radiology, School of Medicine, University of Washington, 1100 NE 45th St, Ste 555, WA 98105, Seattle, USA

3 Division of Life and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Ewha Brain Institute, Ewha Womans University, 52 Ewhayeodae-gil, Seodaemun-gu, 120-750, Seoul, South Korea

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Citation and License

Biology of Mood & Anxiety Disorders 2012, 2:20  doi:10.1186/2045-5380-2-20

Published: 20 November 2012

Abstract

Although the neurobiological mechanisms underlying panic disorder (PD) are not yet clearly understood, increasing amount of evidence from animal and human studies suggests that the amygdala, which plays a pivotal role in neural network of fear and anxiety, has an important role in the pathogenesis of PD. This article aims to (1) review the findings of structural, chemical, and functional neuroimaging studies on PD, (2) relate the amygdala to panic attacks and PD development, (3) discuss the possible causes of amygdalar abnormalities in PD, (4) and suggest directions for future research.

Keywords:
Panic disorder; Panic attack; Amygdala; Neuroimaging