Diminished medial prefrontal cortex activation during the recollection of stressful events is an acquired characteristic of PTSD.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Previous research has shown relatively diminished medial prefrontal cortex activation and heightened psychophysiological responses during the recollection of personal events in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but the origin of these abnormalities is unknown. Twin studies provide the opportunity to determine whether such abnormalities reflect familial vulnerabilities, result from trauma exposure, or are acquired characteristics of PTSD. METHODS:In this case-control twin study, 26 male identical twin pairs (12 PTSD; 14 non-PTSD) discordant for PTSD and combat exposure recalled and imagined trauma-unrelated stressful and neutral life events using a standard script-driven imagery paradigm during functional magnetic resonance imaging and concurrent skin conductance measurement. RESULTS:Diminished activation in the medial prefrontal cortex during Stressful v. Neutral script-driven imagery was observed in the individuals with PTSD, relative to other groups. CONCLUSIONS:Diminished medial prefrontal cortex activation during Stressful v. Neutral script-driven imagery may be an acquired characteristic of PTSD. If replicated, this finding could be used prospectively to inform diagnosis and the assessment of treatment response.
Project description:Approximately 10% of trauma-exposed individuals go on to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Neural emotion regulation may be etiologically involved in PTSD development. Oxytocin administration early post-trauma may be a promising avenue for PTSD prevention, as intranasal oxytocin has previously been found to affect emotion regulation networks in healthy individuals and psychiatric patients. In a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled between-subjects functional magnetic resonance (fMRI) study, we assessed the effects of a single intranasal oxytocin administration (40 IU) on seed-based amygdala resting-state FC with emotion regulation areas (ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (vlPFC)), and salience processing areas (insula, dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC)) in 37 individuals within 11 days post trauma. Two resting-state scans were acquired; one after neutral- and one after trauma-script-driven imagery. We found that oxytocin administration reduced amygdala-left vlPFC FC after trauma script-driven imagery, compared with neutral script-driven imagery, whereas in PL-treated participants enhanced amygdala-left vlPFC FC was observed following trauma script-driven imagery. Irrespective of script condition, oxytocin increased amygdala-insula FC and decreased amygdala-vmPFC FC. These neural effects were accompanied by lower levels of sleepiness and higher flashback intensity in the oxytocin group after the trauma script. Together, our findings show that oxytocin administration may impede emotion regulation network functioning in response to trauma reminders in recently trauma-exposed individuals. Therefore, caution may be warranted in administering oxytocin to prevent PTSD in distressed, recently trauma-exposed individuals.
Project description:Adolescence is a critical period of neurodevelopment for stress and appetitive processing, as well as a time of increased vulnerability to stress and engagement in risky behaviors. This study was conducted to examine brain activation patterns during stress and favorite-food-cue experiences relative to a neutral-relaxing condition in adolescents. Functional magnetic resonance imaging was employed using individualized script-driven guided imagery to compare brain responses with such experiences in 43 adolescents. Main effects of condition and gender were found, without a significant gender-by-condition interaction. Stress imagery, relative to neutral, was associated with activation in the caudate, thalamus, left hippocampus/parahippocampal gyrus, midbrain, left superior/middle temporal gyrus, and right posterior cerebellum. Appetitive imagery of favorite food was associated with caudate, thalamus, and midbrain activation compared with the neutral-relaxing condition. To understand neural correlates of anxiety and craving, subjective (self-reported) measures of stress-induced anxiety and favorite-food-cue-induced craving were correlated with brain activity during stress and appetitive food-cue conditions, respectively. High self-reported stress-induced anxiety was associated with hypoactivity in the striatum, thalamus, hippocampus, and midbrain. Self-reported favorite-food-cue-induced craving was associated with blunted activity in cortical-striatal regions, including the right dorsal and ventral striatum, medial prefrontal cortex, motor cortex, and left anterior cingulate cortex. These findings in adolescents indicate the activation of predominantly subcortical-striatal regions in the processing of stressful and appetitive experiences and link hypoactive striatal circuits to self-reported stress-induced anxiety and cue-induced favorite-food craving.
Project description:Childhood adversity negatively influences all stages of the addiction process and is associated with persistent alterations in neuroendocrine, autonomic and brain responses to stress. We sought to characterize the impact of childhood abuse and neglect on the neural correlates of stress- and drug cue-induced drug craving associated with cocaine addiction. Cocaine-dependent men with (n = 20) and without (n = 18) moderate to severe childhood maltreatment histories underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging during script-guided mental imagery of personalized stress, drug use and neutral experiences. Compared to the neutral script, the stress and drug use scripts activated striatal, prefrontal, posterior cingulate, temporal and cerebellar regions consistent with prior studies of induced states of stress and drug craving. For the stress script, maltreated men exhibited reduced activation of the anterior precuneus and supplementary motor area (SMA); the interaction of maltreatment severity and stress-induced craving responses predicted lesser rostral anterior cingulate cortex activation. For the drug use script, maltreated men exhibited greater left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex activation. The interaction of maltreatment severity and craving responses was associated with greater activation of the visual cortex and SMA, whereas a maltreatment-by-anxiety interaction effect included lesser ventromedial prefrontal cortex activation. The outcomes indicate an association of childhood maltreatment with a heightened appetitive anticipatory response to drug cues and a diminished engagement of regulatory and controlled action selection processes in response to stress- or drug cue-induced drug craving and anxiety responses for cocaine-dependent men. These findings provide novel insights into possible brain mechanisms by which childhood maltreatment heightens risk for relapse in drug-dependent individuals.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Prenatal cocaine exposure (PCE) is linked to addiction and obesity vulnerability. Neural responses to stressful and appetitive cues in adolescents with PCE versus those without have been differentially linked to substance-use initiation. However, no prior studies have assessed cue-reactivity responses among PCE adolescents using a connectivity-based approach. METHODS:Twenty-two PCE and 22 non-prenatally drug-exposed (NDE) age-, sex-, IQ- and BMI-matched adolescents participated in individualized guided imagery with appetitive (favorite-food), stressful and neutral-relaxing cue scripts during functional magnetic resonance imaging. Subjective favorite-food craving scores were collected before and after script exposure. A data-driven voxel-wise intrinsic connectivity distribution analysis was used to identify between-group differences and examine relationships with craving scores. RESULTS:A group-by-cue interaction effect identified a parietal lobe cluster where PCE versus NDE adolescents showed less connectivity during stressful and more connectivity during neutral-relaxing conditions. Follow-up seed-based connectivity analyses revealed that, among PCE adolescents, the parietal seed was positively connected to inferior parietal and sensory areas and negatively connected to corticolimbic during both stress and neutral-relaxing conditions. For NDE, greater parietal connectivity to parietal, cingulate and sensory areas and lesser parietal connectivity to medial prefrontal areas were found during stress compared to neutral-relaxing cueing. Craving scores inversely correlated with corticolimbic connectivity in PCE, but not NDE adolescents, during the favorite-food condition. CONCLUSIONS:Findings from this first data-driven intrinsic connectivity analysis of PCE influences on adolescent brain function indicate differences relating to PCE status and craving. These findings provide insight into the developmental impact of in utero drug exposure.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Recent research suggests that variability in brain signal provides important information about brain function in health and disease. However, it is unknown whether blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) signal variability is altered in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We aimed to identify the BOLD signal variability changes of PTSD patients during symptom provocation and compare the brain patterns of BOLD signal variability with those of brain activation.<h4>Methods</h4>Twelve PTSD patients and 14 age-matched controls, who all experienced a mining accident, underwent clinical assessment as well as fMRI scanning while viewing trauma-related and neutral pictures. BOLD signal variability and brain activation were respectively examined with standard deviation (SD) and general linear model analysis, and compared between the PTSD and control groups. Multiple regression analyses were conducted to explore the association between PTSD symptom severity and these two brain measures across all subjects as well as in the PTSD group.<h4>Results</h4>PTSD patients showed increased activation in the middle occipital gyrus compared with controls, and an inverse correlation was found between PTSD symptom severity and brain activation in the hippocampus and anterior cingulate cortex/medial prefrontal cortex. Brain variability analysis revealed increased SD in the insula, anterior cingulate cortex/medial prefrontal cortex, and vermis, and decreased SD in the parahippocapal gyrus, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, somatosensory cortex, and striatum. Importantly, SD alterations in several regions were found in both traumatic and neutral conditions and were stratified by PTSD symptom severity.<h4>Conclusion</h4>BOLD signal variability may be a reliable and sensitive biomarker of PTSD, and combining brain activation and brain variability analysis may provide complementary insight into the neural basis of this disorder.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Current neurobiological models of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) assume excessive medial frontal activation and hypoactivation of cortico-limbic regions as neural markers of post-traumatic dissociation. Script-driven imagery is an established experimental paradigm that is used to study acute dissociative reactions during trauma exposure. However, there is a scarcity of experimental research investigating neural markers of dissociation; findings from existing script-driven neuroimaging studies are inconsistent and based on small sample sizes.<h4>Aims</h4>The current aim was to identify the neural correlates of acute post-traumatic dissociation by employing the script-driven imagery paradigm in combination with functional magnetic resonance imaging.<h4>Method</h4>Functional neuroimaging data was acquired in 51 female patients with PTSD with a history of interpersonal childhood trauma. Blood-oxygen-level-dependent response during the traumatic (versus neutral) autobiographical memory recall was analysed, and the derived activation clusters were correlated with dissociation measures.<h4>Results</h4>During trauma recall, enhanced activation in the cerebellum, occipital gyri, supramarginal gyrus and amygdala was identified. None of the derived clusters correlated significantly with dissociative symptoms, although patients reported increased levels of acute dissociation following the paradigm.<h4>Conclusions</h4>The present study is one of the largest functional magnetic resonance imaging investigations of dissociative neural biomarkers in patients with PTSD undergoing experimentally induced trauma confrontation to elicit symptom-specific brain reactivity. In light of the current reproducibility crisis prominent in neuroimaging research owing to costly and time-consuming data acquisition, the current (null) findings highlight the difficulty of extracting reliable neurobiological biomarkers for complex subjective experiences such as dissociation.
Project description:<b>Background</b>: Oculomotor movements have been shown to aid in the retrieval of episodic memories, serving as sensory cues that engage frontoparietal brain regions to reconstruct visuospatial details of a memory. Frontoparietal brain regions not only are involved in oculomotion, but also mediate, in part, the retrieval of autobiographical episodic memories and assist in emotion regulation. <b>Objective</b>: We sought to investigate how oculomotion influences retrieval of traumatic memories by examining patterns of frontoparietal brain activation during autobiographical memory retrieval in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and in healthy controls. <b>Method</b>: Thirty-nine participants (controls, <i>n</i> = 19; PTSD, <i>n</i> = 20) recollected both neutral and traumatic/stressful autobiographical memories while cued simultaneously by horizontal and vertical oculomotor stimuli. The frontal (FEF) and supplementary (SEF) eye fields were used as seed regions for psychophysiological interaction analyses in SPM12. <b>Results</b>: As compared to controls, upon retrieval of a traumatic/stressful memory while also performing simultaneous horizontal eye movements, PTSD showed: i) increased SEF and FEF connectivity with the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, ii) increased SEF connectivity with the right dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, and iii) increased SEF connectivity with the right anterior insula. By contrast, as compared to PTSD, upon retrieval of a traumatic/stressful memory while also performing simultaneous horizontal eye movements, controls showed: i) increased FEF connectivity with the right posterior insula and ii) increased SEF connectivity with the precuneus. <b>Conclusions</b>: These findings provide a neurobiological account for how oculomotion may influence the frontoparietal cortical representation of traumatic memories. Implications for eye movement desensitization and reprocessing are discussed.
Project description:Repeated exposure to the traumatic memory (RETM) is a common component of treatments for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This treatment is based on a fear extinction model; however, the degree to which this treatment actually engages and modifies neural networks mediating fear extinction is unknown. Therefore, the purpose of the current exploratory study was to define the dynamic changes in neural processing networks while participants completed a novel adaptation of RETM.Participants were adult women (N = 16) with PTSD related to physical or sexual assault. Prior to scanning, participants provided written narratives of a traumatic event related to their PTSD as well as a neutral control event. RETM during fMRI consisted of 5 sequential presentations of the blocked narrative types, lasting three minutes each. Self-reported anxiety was assessed after each presentation.Relative to changes in functional connectivity during the neutral control script, RETM was associated with strengthened functional connectivity of the right amygdala with the right hippocampus and right anterior insular cortex, left amygdala with the right insular cortex, medial PFC with right anterior insula, left hippocampus with striatum and dorsal cingulate cortex, and right hippocampus with striatum and orbitofrontal cortex. Greater PTSD severity generally led to less changes in functional connectivity with the right insular cortex.These results provide evidence that RETM engages and modifies functional connectivity pathways with neural regions implicated in fear extinction. The results also implicate the engagement of the right insular cortex and striatum during RETM and suggest their importance in human fear extinction to trauma memories. However, comorbidity in the sample and the lack of a control group limit inferences regarding RETM with PTSD populations specifically.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) plays an important role in rodent posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but evidence to support its relevance to human PTSD is limited. We sought to understand the role of the BNST in human PTSD via fMRI, behavioral, and physiological measurements. METHODS:29 patients with PTSD (childhood sexual abuse) and 23 healthy controls (HC) underwent BOLD imaging with an emotional word paradigm. Symptom severity was assessed using the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale and HPA-axis dysfunction was assessed by measuring the diurnal cortisol amplitude index (DCAI). A data-driven multivariate analysis was used to determine BNST task-based functional co-occurrence (tbFC) across individuals. RESULTS:In the trauma-versus-neutral word contrast, patients showed increased activation compared to HC in the BNST, medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), posterior cingulate gyrus (PCG), caudate heads, and midbrain, and decreased activation in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). Symptom severity positively correlated with activity in the BNST, caudate head, amygdala, hippocampus, dorsal anterior cingulate gyrus (dACG), and PCG, and negatively with activity in the medial orbiotofrontal cortex (mOFC) and DLPFC. Patients and HC showed marked differences in the relationship between the DCAI and BOLD activity in the BNST, septal nuclei, dACG, and PCG. Patients showed stronger tbFC between the BNST and closely linked limbic and subcortical regions, and a loss of negative tbFC between the BNST and DLPFC. CONCLUSIONS:Based upon novel data, we present a new model of dysexecutive emotion processing and HPA-axis dysfunction in human PTSD that incorporates the role of the BNST and functionally linked neurocircuitry.