White matter microstructure varies with post-traumatic stress severity following medical trauma

Academic Article

Abstract

  • The prefrontal cortex, amygdala, hippocampus, and hypothalamus are important components of the neural network that mediates the healthy learning, expression, and regulation of emotion. These brain regions are connected by white matter pathways that include the cingulum bundle, uncinate fasciculus, and fornix/stria terminalis. Individuals with trauma and stress-related disorders show dysfunction of the cognitive-affective processes supported by the brain regions these white matter tracts connect. Therefore, variability in the microstructure of these white matter pathways may play an important role in the cognitive-affective dysfunction related to post-traumatic stress disorder. Thus, the current study used diffusion weighted imaging to assess the white matter microstructure of the cingulum bundle, uncinate fasciculus, and fornix/stria terminalis acutely (< 1 month) following trauma. Further, we assessed both acute (i.e., < 1 month) and subacute (i.e., 3 months post-trauma) post-traumatic stress symptom severity. White matter microstructure (assessed < 1 month post-trauma) of the uncinate fasciculus and fornix/stria terminalis varied with acute post-traumatic stress severity (assessed < 1 month post-trauma). Further, white matter microstructure (assessed < 1 month post-trauma) of the cingulum bundle and fornix/stria terminalis varied with subacute post-traumatic stress severity (assessed 3 months post-trauma). The current results suggest white matter architecture of the prefrontal cortex – amygdala network plays an important role in the development of trauma and stress-related disorders.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Harnett NG; Ference EW; Knight AJ; Knight DC
  • Start Page

  • 1012
  • End Page

  • 1024
  • Volume

  • 14
  • Issue

  • 4