Psychoimmunoendocrine aspects of panic disorder

F. Brambilla, L. Bellodi, G. Perna, M. Battaglia, G. Sciuto, G. Diaferia, F. Petraglia, A. Panerai, P. Sacerdote

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Immunological, neuroendocrine and psychological parameters were examined in 14 psychophvsically healthy subjects and in 17 panic disorder patients before and after a 30-day course of alprazolam therapy. T lymphocyte proliferation in response to the mitogen phytohemoagglutinin, lymphocyte beta- endorphin (β-EP) concentrations, plasma ACTH. cortisol and β -EP levels were examined in basal conditions and after corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) stimulation. Cortisol inhibition by dexamethasone (DST) and basal growth hormone (GH) and prolactin levels were also examined. Depression, state or trait anxiety, anticipatory anxiety, agoraphobia, simple and social phobias, severity and frequency of panic attacks were monitored by rating scales. The immune study did not reveal any significant difference between patients and controls, or any effect of alprazolam therapy. The hormonal data for the two groups were similar, except for higher than normal basal ACTH and GH plasma levels, lower than normal ratios between the ACTH and cortisol responses to CRH. and blunted DST in some patients. All the impairments improved after alprazolam therapy, in parallel with decreases in anxiety and in severity and frequency of panic attacks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-22
Number of pages11
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1992


  • ACTH Cortisol
  • Corticotropin-releasing hormone test
  • Dexamethasone inhibition test
  • Growth hormone
  • Panic disorder
  • PH A test
  • Prolactin
  • β-Endorphin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Psychology(all)


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