FKBP5 genotype and structural integrity of the posterior cingulum.
ABSTRACT: Alterations in the microarchitecture of the posterior cingulum (PC), a white matter tract proximal to the hippocampus that facilitates communication between the entorhinal and cingulate cortices, have been observed in individuals with psychiatric disorders, such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PC decrements may be a heritable source of vulnerability for the development of affective disorders; however, genetic substrates for these white matter abnormalities have not been identified. The FKBP5 gene product modulates glucocorticoid receptor function and has been previously associated with differential hippocampal structure, function, and affect disorder risk. Thus, FKBP5 is an attractive genetic target for investigations of PC integrity. We examined associations between PC integrity, measured through diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and fractional anisotropy (FA; an index of white matter integrity), and polymorphisms in the FKBP5 SNP rs1360780 in a sample of 82 traumatized female civilians. Findings indicated that, compared with individuals without this allele, individuals who carried two 'risk' alleles for this FKBP5 SNP (T allele; previously associated with mood and anxiety disorder risk) demonstrated significantly lower FA in the left PC, even after statistically controlling for variance associated with age, trauma exposure, and PTSD symptoms. These data suggest that specific allelic variants for an FKBP5 polymorphism are associated with decrements in the left PC microarchitecture. These white matter abnormalities may be a heritable biological marker that indicates increased vulnerability for the development of psychiatric disorders, such as PTSD.
Project description:Many brain imaging studies have demonstrated reductions in gray and white matter volumes in alcoholism, with fewer investigators using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to examine the integrity of white matter pathways. Among various medical conditions, alcoholism and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are two comorbid diseases that have similar degenerative effects on the white matter integrity. Therefore, understanding and differentiating these effects would be very important in characterizing alcoholism and PTSD. Alcoholics are known to have neurocognitive deficits in decision-making, particularly in decisions related to emotionally-motivated behavior, while individuals with PTSD have deficits in emotional regulation and enhanced fear response. It is widely believed that these types of abnormalities in both alcoholism and PTSD are related to fronto-limbic dysfunction. In addition, previous studies have shown cortico-limbic fiber degradation through fiber tracking in alcoholism. DTI was used to measure white matter fractional anisotropy (FA), which provides information about tissue microstructure, possibly indicating white matter integrity. We quantitatively investigated the microstructure of white matter through whole brain DTI analysis in healthy volunteers (HV) and alcohol dependent subjects without PTSD (ALC) and with PTSD (ALC+PTSD). These data show significant differences in FA between alcoholics and non-alcoholic HVs, with no significant differences in FA between ALC and ALC+PTSD in any white matter structure. We performed a post-hoc region of interest analysis that allowed us to incorporate multiple covariates into the analysis and found similar results. HV had higher FA in several areas implicated in the reward circuit, emotion, and executive functioning, suggesting that there may be microstructural abnormalities in white matter pathways that contribute to neurocognitive and executive functioning deficits observed in alcoholics. Furthermore, our data do not reveal any differences between ALC and ALC+PTSD, suggesting that the effect of alcohol on white matter microstructure may be more significant than any effect caused by PTSD.
Project description:Marijuana (MJ) use and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have both been associated with abnormalities in brain white matter tracts, including the cingulum and the anterior thalamic radiations (ATR), which project from subcortical regions to frontal cortex. Studies have not assessed the integrity of these tracts in patients with comorbid PTSD and MJ use. To examine effects of PTSD and MJ use on brain structure, we performed diffusion tensor imaging scans on seventy-two trauma-exposed participants, categorized into four groups: those with PTSD who used MJ at least weekly (PTSD+MJ; n?=?20), those with PTSD with no regular MJ use (PTSD; n?=?19), trauma-exposed controls without PTSD who used MJ (TEC+MJ; n?=?14) and trauma-exposed controls with no PTSD or MJ use (TEC; n?=?19). White matter integrity was evaluated by calculating fractional anisotropy (FA). Results showed that while FA values in the right ATR and the cingulum differed across groups, there were no significant interactions between PTSD and MJ in any white matter tracts, indicating that MJ exposure neither normalizes nor worsens white matter abnormalities in those with PTSD. Further study is needed to evaluate the impact of MJ use on other neurobiological markers of PTSD.
Project description:Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating disorder that has been associated with brain abnormalities, including white matter alterations. However, little is known about the effect of treatment on these brain alterations. To investigate the course of white matter alterations in PTSD, we used a longitudinal design investigating treatment effects on white matter integrity using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Diffusion tensor and magnetization transfer images were obtained pre- and posttreatment from veterans with (n=39) and without PTSD (n=22). After treatment, 16 PTSD patients were remitted, and 23 had persistent PTSD based on PTSD diagnosis. The dorsal and hippocampal cingulum bundle, stria terminalis, and fornix were investigated as regions of interest. Exploratory whole-brain analyses were also performed. Groups were compared with repeated-measures ANOVA for fractional anisotropy (FA), and magnetization transfer ratio. Persistently symptomatic PTSD patients had increasing FA of the dorsal cingulum over time, and at reassessment these FA values were higher than both combat controls and the remitted PTSD group. Group-by-time interactions for FA were found in the hippocampal cingulum, fornix, and stria terminalis, posterior corona radiata, and superior longitudinal fasciculus. Our results indicate that higher FA of the dorsal cingulum bundle may be an acquired feature of persistent PTSD that develops over time. Furthermore, treatment might have differential effects on the hippocampal cingulum, fornix, stria terminalis, posterior corona radiata, and superior longitudinal fasciculus in remitted vs persistent PTSD patients. This study contributes to a better understanding of the neural underpinnings of PTSD treatment outcome.
Project description:Purpose of the Study:Prior studies showed posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)-related alterations in white matter integrity, but most of these studies have used region-based approaches. We address this limitation by investigating the relationship between PTSD severity and fractional anisotropy (FA) using a tract-based approach. Procedures:Structural and diffusion magnetic resonance imaging were acquired from 67 combat-exposed US Veterans and processed using FSL/FreeSurfer TRActs Constrained by UnderLying Anatomy. Partial correlations were conducted between PTSD severity and FA of the cingulum and uncinate fasciculi covarying for age, sex, and head motion. Results:Only FA of the left cingulum angular bundle (CAB) was positively correlated with PTSD symptom severity (r = 0.433, p = 0.001, df = 57) and remained significant after Bonferroni correction. Conclusions:This finding may imply greater organization of the CAB with increasing PTSD severity. The CAB connects directly to the cingulate cortex and the hippocampal subiculum, critical nodes of the default mode network, as well as being implicated in neurodegeneration pathology, decision-making, and executive functions, which may help explain previously shown alterations in this network in PTSD. Message of the Paper:Further study of white matter tract integrity in PTSD is warranted, particularly to investigate whether the CAB connections with both higher-order cognitive functioning and emotion processing regions contribute to the pathophysiology and comorbidity of PTSD.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The integrity of connections between the hippocampus and the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) is critical for adaptive cognitive and emotional processing; these connections may be compromised in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, there is a lack of PTSD research that combines structural and functional connectivity data, and no studies have examined whether abnormal ACC-hippocampal connectivity is associated with genetic variability, particularly for polymorphisms of a gene that has been previously associated with PTSD, FKBP5. This was the goal of the present study. METHODS:Fifty-four women with and without PTSD underwent diffusion tensor imaging and resting-state MRI. Probabilistic tractography was used to examine ACC-hippocampal structural connectivity; mean fractional anisotropy (FA) values were extracted from connectivity streamlines, which represent the cingulum bundle. Genotype data were collected for a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) of FKBP5, rs1360780. RESULTS:Participants with PTSD demonstrated poorer structural connectivity (lower cingulum FA) compared to traumatized controls (F1, 50 = 6.77, P < .05). An interaction of FKBP5 genotype and diagnostic group was also observed (F1, 37 = 4.52, P = .04), indicating lower cingulum FA in carriers of two risk alleles for this SNP, compared to other diagnostic and genotype groups. Carriers of two FKBP5 risk alleles also demonstrated poorer hippocampus-ACC connectivity at rest (P < .05). When cingulum FA was used a regressor in a brain-wide, seed-based regression analysis, significant associations were found between the hippocampus and dorsal regions of the ACC (P < .05). CONCLUSIONS:Individuals with PTSD demonstrated compromised structural connectivity of the hippocampus-ACC pathway. Altered hippocampus-ACC connectivity may represent a highly salient intermediate neural phenotype for PTSD.
Project description:Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are common among recent military veterans and involve substantial symptom overlap, making clinical distinction and effective intervention difficult. Emerging evidence of cerebral white matter abnormalities associated with mTBI may provide a biological measure to inform diagnosis and treatment, but the potentially confounding effects between PTSD and mTBI have largely gone unexamined. We collected diffusion imaging data from 133 recently-deployed American service members who developed PTSD and/or sustained mTBI, or had neither condition. Effects of PTSD and mTBI on traditional tensor-based measures of cerebral white matter integrity (fractional anisotropy [FA] and mean diffusivity [MD]) were compared in anatomical regions of interest and individual voxels throughout the brain. Generalized FA (GFA), which allows for multiple fiber orientations per voxel, was also included to improve sensitivity in white matter areas containing crossing or diverging axon bundles. PTSD was consistently associated with high GFA in select brain regions, greater likelihood of regions and voxels with abnormally low MD, and a greater number of voxels with abnormally high FA, while mTBI was associated with fewer high MD regions. Overall, PTSD was associated with more restricted diffusion (low MD) and greater anisotropy (high GFA) in regions of crossing/diverging fibers poorly characterized by a single tensor (FA), suggesting that interstitial fibers may be involved. Contrary to earlier results in a sample without PTSD, mTBI was not associated with anisotropy abnormalities, perhaps indicating the cooccurrence of PTSD and mTBI requires special consideration with regard to structural brain connectivity.
Project description:Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating condition which can develop after exposure to traumatic stressors. Seventy-five adults were recruited from the community, 25 diagnosed with PTSD along with 25 healthy and 25 trauma-exposed age- and gender-matched controls. Participants underwent clinical assessment and magnetic resonance imaging. A previous voxel based morphometry (VBM) study using the same subject cohort identified decreased grey matter (GM) volumes within frontal/subcortical brain regions including the hippocampus, amygdala, and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). This study examines the microstructural integrity of white matter (WM) tracts connecting the aforementioned regions/structures. Using diffusion tensor imaging, we investigated the integrity of frontal/subcortical WM tracts between all three subject groups. Trauma exposed subjects with and without PTSD diagnosis were identified to have significant disruption in WM integrity as indexed by decreased fractional anisotropy (FA) in the uncinate fasciculus (UF), cingulum cingulate gyrus (CCG), and corpus callosum (CC), when compared with healthy non-trauma-exposed controls. Significant negative correlations were found between total Clinician Administered PTSD scale (CAPS) lifetime clinical subscores and FA values of PTSD subjects in the right UF, CCG, CC body, and right superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF). An analysis between UF and SLF FA values and VBM determined rostral ACC GM values found a negative correlation in PTSD subjects. Findings suggest that compromised WM integrity in important tracts connecting limbic structures such as the amygdala to frontal regions including the ACC (i.e., the UF and CCG) may contribute to impairments in threat/fear processing associated with PTSD.
Project description:Altered brain anatomy in specific gray-matter regions has been shown in patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Recently, white-matter tracts have become a focus of research in PTSD. The corpus callosum (CC) is the principal white-matter fiber bundle, crucial in relaying sensory, motor and cognitive information between hemispheres. Alterations in CC fibers have been reported in PTSD and might be assumed to underlie substantial behavioral and cognitive sequelae; however most diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) studies in adult-onset PTSD failed to address the clinical correlates between imaging and PTSD symptoms severity, behavioral manifestation and cognitive functions. In the current study we examined (a) to what extent microstructural integrity of the CC is associated with memory performance and (b) whether imaging and cognitive parameters are associated with PTSD symptom severity. DTI data were obtained and fractional anisotropy (FA) values were computed for 16 patients and 14 controls. PTSD symptom severity was assessed by employing the clinician administered PTSD scale (CAPS) and memory was tested using a task probing item and associative memory for words and pictures. Significant correlations were found between PTSD symptoms severity, memory accuracy and reaction-time to CC FA values in the PTSD group. This study demonstrates meaningful clinical and cognitive correlates of microstructural connectivity. These results have implications for diagnostic tools and future studies aimed at identifying individuals at risk for PTSD.
Project description:Blast-related traumatic brain injury (TBI) has been a common injury among returning troops due to the widespread use of improvised explosive devices in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. As most of the TBIs sustained are in the mild range, brain changes may not be detected by standard clinical imaging techniques such as CT. Furthermore, the functional significance of these types of injuries is currently being debated. However, accumulating evidence suggests that diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is sensitive to subtle white matter abnormalities and may be especially useful in detecting mild TBI (mTBI). The primary aim of this study was to use DTI to characterize the nature of white matter abnormalities following blast-related mTBI, and in particular, examine the extent to which mTBI-related white matter abnormalities are region-specific or spatially heterogeneous. In addition, we examined whether mTBI with loss of consciousness (LOC) was associated with more extensive white matter abnormality than mTBI without LOC, as well as the potential moderating effect of number of blast exposures. A second aim was to examine the relationship between white matter integrity and neurocognitive function. Finally, a third aim was to examine the contribution of PTSD symptom severity to observed white matter alterations. One hundred fourteen OEF/OIF veterans underwent DTI and neuropsychological examination and were divided into three groups including a control group, blast-related mTBI without LOC (mTBI - LOC) group, and blast-related mTBI with LOC (mTBI + LOC) group. Hierarchical regression models were used to examine the extent to which mTBI and PTSD predicted white matter abnormalities using two approaches: 1) a region-specific analysis and 2) a measure of spatial heterogeneity. Neurocognitive composite scores were calculated for executive functions, attention, memory, and psychomotor speed. Results showed that blast-related mTBI + LOC was associated with greater odds of having spatially heterogeneous white matter abnormalities. Region-specific reduction in fractional anisotropy (FA) in the left retrolenticular part of the internal capsule was observed in the mTBI + LOC group as the number of blast exposures increased. A mediation analysis revealed that mTBI + LOC indirectly influenced verbal memory performance through its effect on white matter integrity. PTSD was not associated with spatially heterogeneous white matter abnormalities. However, there was a suggestion that at higher levels of PTSD symptom severity, LOC was associated with reduced FA in the left retrolenticular part of the internal capsule. These results support postmortem reports of diffuse axonal injury following mTBI and suggest that injuries with LOC involvement may be particularly detrimental to white matter integrity. Furthermore, these results suggest that LOC-associated white matter abnormalities in turn influence neurocognitive function.
Project description:The results of recent diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) studies on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) are inconclusive and controversial. We performed a voxel-based meta-analysis to identify a statistical consensus among published DTI studies of altered white matter (WM) microarchitecture in ALS.A systematic search was conducted for relevant studies that used voxel-wise analyses of WM microarchitecture in patients with ALS. Anisotropic effect size-signed differential mapping (AES-SDM) was applied to analyze fractional anisotropy (FA) differences between ALS patients and healthy controls. Meta-regression analysis was used to explore the effects of clinical characteristics on WM integrity in patients with ALS.A total of 14 studies with 16 datasets that included 396 patients and 360 healthy controls were identified. The pooled meta-analysis revealed that patients with ALS exhibited significant FA reductions in two clusters relative to healthy controls. The largest cluster exhibited a peak coordinate in the left corona radiata, extending to the body and splenium of the corpus callosum, left superior longitudinal fasciculus, posterior limb of the internal capsule, right corona radiata, and bilateral cingulate gyrus. The other cluster exhibited decreased FA in the right corticospinal tract that extended to the right cerebral peduncle. The Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Functional Rating Scale-Revised (ALSFRS-R) score was positively correlated with the FA reduction in the left corona radiata. Mean age and illness duration were not linearly correlated with the FA reductions.This study provides a thorough profile of WM microarchitecture alterations in patients with ALS and further evidence that the neuronal degeneration is not limited to the corticospinal tract but also includes extra-motor areas, which supports the view that ALS is a multisystem degenerative disorder that involves the white matter.