Our study aimed to identify gray matter volume differences between panic disorder patients and healthy volunteers using optimized voxel-based morphometry. Gray matter volume was compared between 18 panic subjects and 18 healthy volunteers. Panic disorder severity scale (PDSS) and Zung self-rating anxiety scale (Z-SAS) were administered. Gray matter volumes of bilateral putamen were decreased in panic subjects relative to healthy comparison subjects (corrected P < 0.05). Decreased gray matter volume was also observed in the right precuneus, right inferior temporal gyrus, right inferior frontal gyrus, left superior temporal gyrus, and left superior frontal gyrus at a less conservative level of significance. PDSS score negatively correlated with gray matter volume in the left putamen, right putamen, right inferior frontal gyrus, and left superior frontal gyrus in panic subjects. The duration of illness negatively correlated with left putaminal gray matter volume. There was also a negative correlation between gray matter volume in right putamen and Z-SAS score in panic subjects. The current study reports a putaminal gray matter volume decrease in panic subjects, which may be related to the clinical severity of panic disorder.
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