The zinc metalloenzyme glyoxalase I (GLO1) is thought to play a role in anxiety disorders because a reduced brain expression of GLO1 has been associated with increased anxiety-behaviours in mice. Recently, a functional Ala111Glu polymorphism in GLO1 has been shown to result in a reduced enzyme activity. The present study tested the hypothesis that this common genetic variant could confer susceptibility to panic disorder using an Italian population sample of 162 panic disorder patients and 288 matched controls. Statistical analysis failed to show association with the overall diagnosis of the disease. However, a weak but significant association was demonstrated between this polymorphism and panic disorder without agoraphobia. While our data suggest that this polymorphism is unlikely to have a major function in the pathogenesis of panic disorder, it could play a role in the subgroup of patients without agoraphobic avoidance.
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