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See detailSympathetic activity relates to adenosine A2A receptor gene variation in blood-injury phobia
Hohoff, Christa; Domschke, Katharina; Schwarte, Kathrin et al

in Journal of Neural Transmission (2009), 116

Variation in the candidate genes adenosine A(2A) receptor (A(2A)R), catechol-O-methyl-transferase (COMT), and norepinephrine transporter (NET) has been suggested to influence vulnerability to panic ... [more ▼]

Variation in the candidate genes adenosine A(2A) receptor (A(2A)R), catechol-O-methyl-transferase (COMT), and norepinephrine transporter (NET) has been suggested to influence vulnerability to panic disorder. We therefore investigated patients with another anxiety disorder with an even higher heritability, the blood-injury phobia, for association of these variants and used sympathetic measures during venipuncture, which serve as a naturalistic trigger of anxiety and autonomic hyperarousal, as an intermediate phenotype of anxiety. Patients homozygous for the A(2A)R 1976T allele as compared to patients carrying at least one 1976C allele exhibited a significantly increased respiratory rate with a trend towards elevated measures of systolic and diastolic blood pressure and respiratory minute volume. None of the sympathetic measures were influenced by the COMT or NET polymorphisms.This study provides preliminary data suggesting an influence of the A(2A)R 1976C/T polymorphism on sympathetic psychophysiological indicators of anxiety-related arousal in blood-injury phobia and thereby further supports a role of the A(2A)R gene in the pathogenesis of anxiety disorders. [less ▲]

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See detailBlood phobia with and without a history of fainting: disgust sensitivity does not explain the fainting response
Gerlach, Alexander L.; Spellmeyer, Gerd; Vögele, Claus UL et al

in Psychosomatic Medicine (2006), 68

Objective: Individuals diagnosed with blood-injury phobia respond to venipuncture with strong psychophysiological responses. We investigated whether disgust sensitivity contributes to the fainting ... [more ▼]

Objective: Individuals diagnosed with blood-injury phobia respond to venipuncture with strong psychophysiological responses. We investigated whether disgust sensitivity contributes to the fainting response and is associated with parasympathetic activation, as suggested by previous research. Methods: Twenty individuals diagnosed with blood-injury phobia (9 with a history of fainting to the sight of blood, 11 without such a fainting history) and 20 healthy controls were compared. Psychophysiological responses and self-report measures of anxiety, disgust, and embarrassment were monitored during rest, a paced breathing task, and venipuncture. In addition, trait disgust sensitivity and blood-injury fears were assessed. Results: Blood-injury phobics reported enhanced anxiety, disgust, and embarrassment during venipuncture. They also experienced heightened arousal, as indicated by heart rate, respiration rate, and minute ventilation. Blood-injury phobics without a fainting history tended toward higher anxiety and disgust scores. There was no evidence for increased parasympathetic activation in either blood-injury phobic subgroup or of an association of disgust and parasympathetic activation. Conclusion: The tendency to faint when exposed to blood-injury stimuli may suffice as a conditioning event leading into phobia, without specific involvement of disgust sensitivity and parasympathetic activation. [less ▲]

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