Disruption of GABAergic tone in the dorsomedial hypothalamus attenuates responses in a subset of serotonergic neurons in the dorsal raphe nucleus following lactate-induced panic Journal Article uri icon



  • Panic patients are vulnerable to induction of panic attacks by sub—threshold interoceptive stimuli such as intravenous (i.v.) sodium lactate infusions. Facilitation of serotonergic signaling with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors can suppress anxiety and panic-like responses, but the mechanisms involved are not clearly defined. We investigated the effects of i.v. 0.5 M sodium lactate or saline, in control and panic-prone rats on c-Fos expression in serotonergic neurons within subdivisions of the midbrain/pontine raphe nuclei. Rats were chronically infused with either the GABA synthesis inhibitor l-allylglycine into the dorsomedial hypo thalamus to make them panic-prone, or the enantiomer d-allylglycine (d-AG) in controls. Lactate increased c-Fos expression in serotonergic neurons located in the ventrolateral part of the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRVL) and ventrolateral periaqueductal gray (VLPAG) of control, but not panic-prone, rats. The distribution of lactate-sensitive serotonergic neurons in d-AG-treated rats is virtually identical to previously defined pre-sympathomotor serotonergic neurons with multisynaptic projections to peripheral organs mediating 'fight-or-flight'-related autonomic and motor responses. We hypothesized that serotonergic neurons within the DRVL/VLPAG region represent a 'sympathomotor control system' that normally limits autonomic/behavioral responses to innocuous interoceptive and exteroceptive stimuli, and that dysfunction of this serotonergic system contributes to an anxiety-like state and increases vulnerability to panic in animals and humans.

publication date

  • August 1, 2008

has restriction

  • green

Date in CU Experts

  • January 22, 2014 8:50 AM

Full Author List

  • Johnson PL; Lowry CA; Truitt W; Shekhar A

author count

  • 4

Other Profiles

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0269-8811

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1461-7285

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 642

end page

  • 652


  • 22


  • 6