A breath of fear : a translational approach into the mechanisms of panic

N.K. Leibold

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisInternal

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Panic disorder is characterised by unexpected panic attacks. In this study, this symptom was induced experimentally by the inhalation of 35% carbon dioxide. It was found that the diastolic blood pressure in particular reflects the dose-dependent emotional reaction and may therefore be a biomarker for carbon dioxide reactivity. It is common knowledge that carbon dioxide provokes a more intense fear reaction in patients with panic disorder. The results of this study show that this phenomenon may be caused by increased brainstem sensitivity. Furthermore, it is demonstrated that certain genetic variations in genes coding for pH-sensitive channels are associated with a different level of sensitivity to carbon dioxide. In conclusion, we designed an animal model of panic tailored to the human model of panic, therefore improving the translation of animal results to humans and offering advantages with regard to the development and testing of new treatment options.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Maastricht University
  • Steinbusch, Harry, Supervisor
  • Schruers, Koen, Co-Supervisor
  • van den Hove, Daniel, Co-Supervisor
Award date25 Jun 2015
Place of PublicationMaastricht
Print ISBNs9789462991071
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • panic disorder
  • carbon dioxide inhalation

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