Prolactin and sodium lactate-induced panic

Eric Hollander, Michael R. Liebowitz, Barry Cohen, Jack M. Gorman, Abby J. Fyer, Laszlo A. Papp, Donald F. Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Sodium lactate infusions reliably induce panic attacks in panic disorder patients but not in normal controls, but the mechanism underlying this response is unknown. We studied the plasma prolactin response to infusion of 0.5 molar sodium lactate in 38 patients with panic disorder or agoraphobia with panic attacks, and 16 normal controls. As expected, baseline plasma prolactin was significantly higher in female subjects than in male subjects. However, the males who experienced lactate-induced panic had significantly elevated baseline prolactin levels compared to male nonpanickers and controls. Prolactin levels increased in all groups during lactate infusion, which may reflect osmotic effects, but were blunted in the late panickers compared to nonpanickers and controls. The elevated baseline prolactin for male panickers supports a relationship between prolactin and anticipatory anxiety. The blunted prolactin response for late panickers suggests a net diminution, rather than a sensitization, of prolactin response in panic anxiety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-191
Number of pages11
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1989
Externally publishedYes


  • Prolactin
  • agoraphobia
  • anxiety
  • panic disorder
  • sodium lactate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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