Research press release


Nature Medicine

The neurochemistry of panic



DPHには、覚醒や不眠にかかわるペプチド、オレキシンを含むニューロンが多数存在する。P Johnsonたちは、ラットでパニック不安にオレキシンが果たす役割を調べ、オレキシンニューロンの活性化がパニックを起こしやすい状態に結びつくことを発見した。視床下部のオレキシン遺伝子をRNA干渉で抑制したり、オレキシン受容体遮断薬を利用したりすることにより、パニック反応が起こらなくなった。


Orexin, a brain peptide best known for its link to the sleep disorder narcolepsy, participates in the pathophysiology of panic disorder, according to a report in this week’s Nature Medicine.

In people with panic disorder ― characterized by recurrent panic attacks ― there is evidence of decreased brain inhibition and marked increases in autonomic and respiratory responses after intravenous infusions of sodium lactate ― a common test for panic disorder. In rats, a brain region known as the DPH participates in anxiety-like states and is similarly vulnerable to sodium lactate.

The DPH has a large number of neurons that contain orexin ― a peptide involved in arousal and vigilance states. Philip Johnson and his colleagues therefore investigated the role of orexin in panic anxiety and found that activation of orexin neurons leads to a panic-prone state in rats. Silencing the hypothalamic orexin gene with RNA interference or with orexin-receptor blockers prevented the panic responses.

The team also found that humans with panic anxiety have elevated levels of orexin in the cerebrospinal fluid compared to subjects without panic anxiety. These results indicate that the orexin system may constitute a potential new target to treat panic disorder.

doi: 10.1038/nm.2075


メールマガジンリストの「Nature 関連誌今週のハイライト」にチェックをいれていただきますと、毎週各ジャーナルからの最新の「注目のハイライト」をまとめて皆様にお届けいたします。