Caffeine taste test for panic disorder: adenosine receptor supersensitivity

Psychiatry Res. 1989 Dec;30(3):231-42. doi: 10.1016/0165-1781(89)90014-0.


The present study introduces a novel measure of adenosine receptor sensitivity that is based on the action of specific receptor blockers (e.g., caffeine) to potentiate the ability to detect threshold quinine concentrations. The test is used to compare gustatory adenosinergic responses to caffeine challenges in normal controls and patients with panic disorder or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Panic disorder patients had an exaggerated response to the caffeine challenge that was not found in controls or PTSD patients, although the latter had higher anxiety scores on psychometric tests. The results are related to a model in which A1-adenosine receptors up-regulate in an attempt to modulate hyperactive excitatory neuronal systems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders / physiopathology
  • Arousal / drug effects*
  • Arousal / physiology
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Caffeine / pharmacology*
  • Fear / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Panic / drug effects*
  • Panic / physiology
  • Quinine
  • Receptors, Purinergic / drug effects*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / physiopathology
  • Taste / drug effects*
  • Taste Threshold / drug effects*


  • Receptors, Purinergic
  • Caffeine
  • Quinine