Altered White Matter Diffusivity of the Cingulum Angular Bundle in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.
ABSTRACT: 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: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:Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a heterogeneous disorder with disturbances in hyper-arousal or avoidance behaviors, and intrusive or re-experiencing thoughts. The uncinate fasciculus (UF) and cingulum bundle are white matter pathways implicated in stress and trauma pathophysiology, yet their structural integrity related to PTSD symptom domains is yet to be understood. Forty-four trauma-exposed young adults underwent structural and diffusion-weighted MRI. Stress and trauma exposure indices and severity of PTSD symptoms were collected and used to predict current integrity of the UF and cingulum bundle. Severity of re-experiencing PTSD symptoms was significantly related to increased fractional anisotropy (r=.469 p<.001) and decreased mean diffusivity (r=-.373, p=.013) of the right posterior cingulum bundle. No other findings emerged with respect to stress exposure or of hyper-arousal (p's>0.05) or avoidance (p's>0.2) PTSD symptoms. The posterior cingulum connects medial temporal lobe structures with visual areas in the occipital lobe and has been implicated in visual memory and self-referential thought. Increased structural connectivity along this pathway may therefore explain the emergence of re-experiencing PTSD symptoms. This along with the lack of results with respect to stress exposure suggests structural aberrations in white matter pathways are more strongly linked with the actual experience of stress-related psychological symptoms than just exposure to stress.
Project description:Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a disabling condition, often associated with a chronic course. Given its role in attentional control, decision-making, and emotional regulation, the anterior cingulate cortex is considered to have a key role in the pathophysiology of the disorder. Notably, the cingulum bundle, being the major white matter tract connecting to this region, has been historically a target for the surgical treatment of intractable OCD. In this study, we aimed to identify the extent to which focal-more than diffuse-abnormalities in fiber collinearity of the cingulum bundle could distinguish 48 adults with OCD (mean age [SD] = 23.3 [4.5] years; F/M = 30/18) from 45 age- and sex-matched healthy control adults (CONT; mean age [SD] = 23.2 [3.8] years; F/M = 28/17) and further examine if these abnormalities correlated with symptom severity. Use of tract-profiles rather than a conventional diffusion imaging approach allowed us to characterize white matter microstructural properties along (100 segments), as opposed to averaging these measures across, the entire tract. To account for these 100 different segments of the cingulum bundle, a repeated measures analysis of variance revealed a main effect of group (OCD < CONT; F[1,87] = 5.3; P = 0.024) upon fractional anisotropy (FA, a measure of fiber collinearity and/or white matter integrity), in the cingulum bundle, bilaterally. Further analyses revealed that these abnormalities were focal (middle portion) within the left and right cingulum bundle, although did not correlate with symptom severity in OCD. Findings indicate that focal abnormalities in connectivity between the anterior cingulate cortex and other prefrontal cortical regions may represent neural mechanisms of OCD.
Project description:Although significant changes in both gray and white matter have been noted in late-life depression (LLD), the pathophysiology of implicated white-matter tracts has not been fully described. In this study we examined the integrity of specific white-matter tracts in LLD versus healthy controls (HC).Participants aged ?60 years were recruited from the community. The sample included 23 clinically diagnosed individuals with LLD and 23 HC. White-matter integrity metrics [fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), axial diffusivity (AD) and radial diffusivity (RD)] were calculated in the bilateral cingulum and uncinate fasciculus. Depression severity was measured using the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CESD). Composite scores for learning and memory and executive function were created using standardized neuropsychological assessments.White-matter integrity was lower in LLD versus HC in the bilateral cingulum and right uncinate fasciculus (p?0.05). In the whole sample, depression severity correlated with integrity in the bilateral cingulum and right uncinate fasciculus (p ?0.05). In patients, depression severity correlated with the integrity of the left uncinate fasciculus (p = 0.03); this tract also correlated with executive function (p = 0.02). Among HC, tract integrity did not correlate with depression scores; however, learning and memory correlated with integrity of the bilateral uncinate fasciculus and bilateral cingulum; executive function correlated with the right uncinate and left cingulum (p ?0.05).White-matter tract integrity was lower in LLD than in HC and was associated with depression severity across all participants. Tract integrity was associated with cognition in both groups but more robustly among HC.
Project description:Alcoholism-related deficits in cognition and emotion point toward frontal and limbic dysfunction, particularly in the right hemisphere. Prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortices are involved in cognitive and emotional functions and play critical roles in the oversight of the limbic reward system. In the present study, we examined the integrity of white matter tracts that are critical to frontal and limbic connectivity.Diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging (DT-MRI) was used to assess functional anisotropy (FA), a measure of white matter integrity, in 15 abstinent long-term chronic alcoholic and 15 demographically equivalent control men. Voxel-based and region-based analyses of group FA differences were applied to these scans.Alcoholic subjects had diminished frontal lobe FA in the right superior longitudinal fascicles II and III, orbitofrontal cortex white matter, and cingulum bundle, but not in corresponding left hemisphere regions. These right frontal and cingulum white matter regional FA measures provided 97% correct group discrimination. Working Memory scores positively correlated with superior longitudinal fascicle III FA measures in control subjects only.The findings demonstrate white matter microstructure deficits in abstinent alcoholic men in several right hemisphere tracts connecting prefrontal and limbic systems. These white matter deficits may contribute to underlying dysfunction in memory, emotion, and reward response in alcoholism.
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: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:The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship of medial temporal lobe and posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) volumetrics as well as fractional anisotropy of the cingulum angular bundle (CAB) and the cingulum cingulate gyrus (CCG) bundle to performance on measures of verbal memory in non-demented older adults. The participants were 100 non-demented adults over the age of 70 years from the Einstein Aging Study. Volumetric data were estimated from T1-weighted images. The entire cingulum was reconstructed using diffusion tensor MRI and probabilistic tractography. Association between verbal episodic memory and MRI measures including volume of hippocampus (HIP), entorhinal cortex (ERC), PCC and fractional anisotropy of CAB and CCG bundle were modeled using linear regression. Relationships between atrophy of these structures and regional cingulum fractional anisotropy were also explored. Decreased HIP volume on the left and decreased fractional anisotropy of left CAB were associated with lower memory performance. Volume changes in ERC, PCC and CCG disruption were not associated with memory performance. In regression models, left HIP volume and left CAB-FA were each independently associated with episodic memory. The results suggest that microstructural changes in the left CAB and decreased left HIP volume independently influence episodic memory performance in older adults without dementia. The importance of these findings in age and illness-related memory decline require additional exploration.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Serotonin-1A receptors (5-HTR1A) is suggested to be involved in the etiology of several psychiatric disorders including panic disorder (PD). A few imaging studies have suggested the alterations of the cingulum bundle in PD. The objective of this study is to examine the structural changes of cingulum related to the 5-HTR1A polymorphism rs6295 in the patients with PD. METHODS:Thirty-two right-handed patients with PD [11 men, 21 women; 40.34±13.17 (mean±SD) age] who met the diagnostic criteria in Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV were examined by means of MRI at 3 Tesla. We divided the patients with PD into CC genotype group and non CC genotype group (GG/CG genotype group) of the 5-HTR1A rs6295 polymorphism to compare the cingulum white matter connectivity. RESULTS:Tract-based spatial statistics showed significantly increased fractional anisotropy (FA) values in cingulate gyrus process of left cingulum in 5-HTR1A CC genotype compared to GG/CG genotype in PD. Significant positive correlations were shown between the Albany Panic and Phobia Questionnaire (APPQ) interoceptive fear subscale scores, the Anxiety Sensitivity Inventory-Revised fear of publicly observable anxiety reaction subscale scores and FA values of cingulate gyrus process of left cingulum in 5-HTR1A rs6295 GG/CG genotype group. In CC genotype group, APPQ total, APPQ agoraphobia subscale and APPQ social phobia subscale scores also showed significant positive correlations with FA values of hippocampal process of right cingulum. CONCLUSION:This preliminary study suggests that 5-HTR1A polymorphism may be associated with the cingulum white matter connectivity in PD.
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.