Candidate genes in panic disorder: meta-analyses of 23 common variants in major anxiogenic pathways

Mol Psychiatry. 2016 May;21(5):665-79. doi: 10.1038/mp.2015.138. Epub 2015 Sep 22.


The utilization of molecular genetics approaches in examination of panic disorder (PD) has implicated several variants as potential susceptibility factors for panicogenesis. However, the identification of robust PD susceptibility genes has been complicated by phenotypic diversity, underpowered association studies and ancestry-specific effects. In the present study, we performed a succinct review of case-control association studies published prior to April 2015. Meta-analyses were performed for candidate gene variants examined in at least three studies using the Cochrane Mantel-Haenszel fixed-effect model. Secondary analyses were also performed to assess the influences of sex, agoraphobia co-morbidity and ancestry-specific effects on panicogenesis. Meta-analyses were performed on 23 variants in 20 PD candidate genes. Significant associations after correction for multiple testing were observed for three variants, TMEM132D rs7370927 (T allele: odds ratio (OR)=1.27, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.15-1.40, P=2.49 × 10(-6)), rs11060369 (CC genotype: OR=0.65, 95% CI: 0.53-0.79, P=1.81 × 10(-5)) and COMT rs4680 (Val (G) allele: OR=1.27, 95% CI: 1.14-1.42, P=2.49 × 10(-5)) in studies with samples of European ancestry. Nominal associations that did not survive correction for multiple testing were observed for NPSR1 rs324891 (T allele: OR=1.22, 95% CI: 1.07-1.38, P=0.002), TPH1 rs1800532 (AA genotype: OR=1.46, 95% CI: 1.14-1.89, P=0.003) and HTR2A rs6313 (T allele: OR=1.19, 95% CI: 1.07-1.33, P=0.002) in studies with samples of European ancestry and for MAOA-uVNTR in female PD (low-active alleles: OR=1.21, 95% CI: 1.07-1.38, P=0.004). No significant associations were observed in the secondary analyses considering sex, agoraphobia co-morbidity and studies with samples of Asian ancestry. Although these findings highlight a few associations, PD likely involves genetic variation in a multitude of biological pathways that is diverse among populations. Future studies must incorporate larger sample sizes and genome-wide approaches to further quantify the observed genetic variation among populations and subphenotypes of PD.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / genetics
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Humans
  • Panic Disorder / genetics*
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*