Cholecystokinin tetrapeptide (CCK4) is known to induce panic attacks in patients with panic disorder at a lower dose than in normal controls. Therefore, the cholecystokinin B (CCKB) receptor gene is a candidate gene for panic disorder. We searched for mutations in the CCKB gene in 22 probands of panic disorder pedigrees, using single-strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) analysis. Two polymorphisms were detected. A polymorphism in an intron (2491 C-->A) between exons 4 and 5 was observed in 10 of 22 probands. A missense mutation in the extracellular loop of exon 2 (1550 G-->A, Val125-->Ile) was found in only one proband. This mutation was also examined in additional 34 unrelated patients with panic disorder and 112 controls. The prevalence rate of this mutation was 8.8% in patients with panic disorder (3/34) and 4.4% in controls (5/112). The mutation did not segregate with panic disorder in two families where this could be tested. These results suggest no pathophysiological significance of this mutation in panic disorder.