Mismatch negativity (MMN) or its magnetic counterpart (MMNm) is a neurophysiological signal to reflect the automatic change-detection ability. However, MMN studies in patients with panic disorder (PD) showed contrasting results using electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings. The present study attempted to overcome the limitations of EEG methodology by means of a whole-head magnetoencephalography (MEG) combined with the depth-weighted minimum norm estimate method to conduct an in-depth investigation on the MMNm at the cortical level in patients with PD.
We recruited 22 healthy controls (HC) and 20 patients with PD to perform auditory oddball paradigm during MEG recordings. The cortical MMNm amplitudes and latencies in the superior temporal gyrus, inferior parietal lobule, and inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) were compared between the HC and PD groups. The correlations between MMNm responses and clinical measurement were also examined.
Compared with the HC group, the PD group demonstrated significantly reduced MMNm amplitudes in the IFG. Furthermore, higher trait scores of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory were associated with lower MMNm amplitudes of the right IFG among patients with PD.
Generalization of the current results to other settings or samples should be made cautiously due to the use of different medication regimens and presence of comorbidities in our patients.
Our data suggest dysfunctional pre-attentive change-detection ability in patients with PD, particularly in the IFG.

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