Breakdown of inter-hemispheric connectivity is associated with posttraumatic symptomatology and memory impairment

Rotem Saar-Ashkenazy, Ronel Veksler, Jonathan Guez, Yael Jacob, Ilan Shelef, Hadar Shalev, Alon Friedman, Jonathan E. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0144766
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2016


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