The changes in the low-frequency fluctuations of cingulate cortex and postcentral gyrus in the treatment of panic disorder: The MRI study

World J Biol Psychiatry. 2016;17(1):58-65. doi: 10.3109/15622975.2015.1017604. Epub 2015 Mar 19.


Objectives: The default brain activities in the treatment of panic disorder (PD) have not been studied well. Therefore we designed this longitudinal study to survey the accompanying changes in the fractional amplitude of low-frequency fluctuations (fALFF) when panic disorder (PD) patients achieved remission.

Methods: We enrolled 21 medicine-naive patients who finished a 6-week therapy of antidepressant. The trial antidepressant was escitalopram. The acquisitions of fALFF in the patients and controls were assessed at baseline and the sixth week. The treatment-related effects and group-related differences (baseline versus sixth week) were obtained by the comparisons of the fALFF data of each group.

Results: The treatment-related effects showed increases in the fALFF values of the right middle cingulate cortex (MCC) and left postcentral gyrus (PCG) after remission in PD patients. The improvements in panic severity and antidepressant dose also correlated positively with the increases in the fALFF values of the right middle cingulate cortex. There were still residual group-related differences of fALFF in the occipital lobe and thalamus after remission.

Conclusions: The results probably revealed the treatment-related effects of fALFF in the MCC-PCG regions and group-related differences of fALFF in the occipito-thalamic regions for the antidepressant treatment and remission in PD.

Keywords: fractional amplitude of low frequency fluctuations; left postcentral gyrus; middle cingulate cortex; panic disorder.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Citalopram / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Gyrus Cinguli / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Panic Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Somatosensory Cortex / drug effects*
  • Taiwan


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Citalopram