Insula response to unpredictable and predictable aversiveness in individuals with panic disorder and comorbid depression

Stephanie M. Gorka, Brady D. Nelson, K. Luan Phan, Stewart A Shankman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Prior studies suggest that hyperactive insula responding to unpredictable aversiveness is a core feature of anxiety disorders. However, no study to date has investigated the neural correlates of unpredictable aversiveness in those with panic disorder (PD) with comorbid major depressive disorder (MDD). The aim of the current study was to examine group differences in neural responses to unpredictable and predictable aversiveness in 41 adults with either 1) current PD with comorbid MDD (PD-MDD), 2) current MDD with no lifetime diagnosis of an anxiety disorder (MDD-only), or 3) no lifetime diagnosis of psychopathology. All participants completed a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scan while viewing temporally predictable or unpredictable negative or neutral images.Findings: The results indicated that individuals with PD-MDD exhibited greater bilateral insula activation to unpredictable aversiveness compared with controls and individuals with MDD-only (who did not differ). There were no group differences in insula activation to predictable aversiveness.Conclusions: These findings add to a growing literature highlighting the role of the insula in the pathophysiology of anxiety disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9
JournalBiology of Mood and Anxiety Disorders
Volume4
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

Keywords

  • Depression
  • Insula
  • Panic disorder
  • Unpredictable aversiveness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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