Harald Kugel1, Udo Dannlowski2, Friederike Franke2, Christa Hohoff2, Peter Zwanzger2, Thomas Lenzen2, Dominik Grotegerd2, Thomas Suslow2,3, Volker Arolt2, Walter Heindel1, Katharina Domschke2
1Dept. of Clinical Radiology, University of Muenster, Muenster, NRW, Germany; 2Dept. of Psychiatry, University of Muenster, Muenster, NRW, Germany; 3Dept. of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, SN, Germany
Anxiety disorders are debilitating psychiatric diseases that are related with hyperactivity of the amygdala, a central structure in the fear circuit. The neuropeptide S (NPS) is highly expressed in the amygdala, and a functional polymorphism in the NPS receptor gene has been associated with panic disorder and anxiety sensitivity. fMRI revealed a strong association of NPSR T alleles with right amygdala responsiveness to fear-relevant faces. The association peak was located in the basolateral amygdala. NPSR rs324981 apparently causes an indirect effect on trait anxiety and potentially contributes to the pathogenesis of anxiety disorders.