Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is characterized by unwanted intrusive thoughts and hyperarousal at rest. As these core symptoms reflect disturbance in resting-state mechanisms, we investigated the functional and anatomical involvement of the default mode network (DMN) in this disorder. The relation between symptomatology and trauma characteristics was considered. Twenty PTSD patients and 20 matched trauma-exposed controls that were exposed to a similar traumatic event were recruited for this study. In each group, 10 patients were exposed to military trauma, and 10 to civilian trauma. PTSD, anxiety, and depression symptom severity were assessed. DMN maps were identified in resting-state scans using independent component analysis. Regions of interest (medial prefrontal, precuneus, and bilateral inferior parietal) were defined and average z-scores were extracted for use in the statistical analysis. The medial prefrontal and the precuneus regions were used for cingulum tractography whose integrity was measured and compared between groups. Similar functional and anatomical connectivity patterns were identified in the DMN of PTSD patients and trauma-exposed controls. In the PTSD group, functional and anatomical connectivity parameters were strongly correlated with clinical measures, and there was evidence of coupling between the anatomical and functional properties. Type of trauma and time from trauma were found to modulate connectivity patterns. To conclude, anatomical and functional connectivity patterns are related to PTSD symptoms and trauma characteristics influence connectivity beyond clinical symptoms. Hum Brain Mapp 37:589-599, 2016.
- Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI)
- Resting-state fMRI