Greater Early Posttrauma Activation in the Right Inferior Frontal Gyrus Predicts Recovery From Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms

Jony Sheynin, Yana Lokshina, Samira Ahrari, Tetiana Nickelsen, Elizabeth R. Duval, Ziv Ben-Zion, Arieh Y. Shalev, Talma Hendler, Israel Liberzon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been associated with altered emotion processing and modulation in specific brain regions, i.e., the amygdala, insula, and medial prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortices. Functional alterations in these regions, recorded shortly after trauma exposure, may predict changes in PTSD symptoms. Methods: Survivors (N = 104) of a traumatic event, predominantly a motor vehicle accident, were included. Functional magnetic resonance imaging was used to assess brain activation 1, 6, and 14 months after trauma exposure (T1, T2, and T3, respectively). Participants performed the Shifted-attention Emotional Appraisal Task, which probes 3 affective processes: implicit emotional processing (of emotional faces), emotion modulation by attention shifting (away from these faces), and emotion modulation by appraisal (of the participants’ own emotional response to these faces). We defined regions of interest based on task-related activations, extracted beta weights from these regions of interest, and submitted them to a series of analyses to examine relationships between neural activation and PTSD severity over the 3 time points. Results: At T1, a regression model containing activations in the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, bilateral inferior frontal gyrus (IFG), and medial prefrontal cortex during emotion modulation by appraisal significantly predicted change in PTSD symptoms. More specifically, greater right IFG activation at T1 was associated with greater reduction in symptom severity (T1–T3). Exploratory analysis also found that activation of the right IFG increased from T1 to T3. Conclusions: The results suggest that greater early posttrauma activation during emotion appraisal in the right IFG, a region previously linked to cognitive control in PTSD, predicts recovery from PTSD symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-100
Number of pages10
JournalBiological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024


FundersFunder number
National Institutes of HealthNCT03756545
U.S. Department of Defense
National Institute of Mental HealthR01-MH-103287
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs


    • Emotion appraisal
    • Emotion processing and modulation
    • IFG
    • PTSD
    • Trauma
    • fMRI


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