Background: The goal of this study was to examine the neuronal circuitry underlying different emotional states (neutral, sad, anxious, and traumatic) in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in traumatized subjects versus traumatized subjects without PTSD.
Methods: Traumatized subjects with (n = 10) and without (n = 10) PTSD were studied using the script-driven symptom provocation paradigm adapted to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) at a 4 Tesla field strength.
Results: Compared to the trauma-exposed comparison group, PTSD subjects showed significantly less activation of the thalamus and the anterior cingulate gyrus (area 32) in all three emotional states (sad, anxious, and traumatic).
Conclusion: These findings suggest thalamic and anterior cingulate dysfunction in the recollection of traumatic as well as other negative events. Thalamic and anterior cingulate dysfunction may underlie emotion dysregulation often observed clinically in PTSD.