Voxel-based diffusion tensor analysis reveals aberrant anterior cingulum integrity in posttraumatic stress disorder due to terrorism

Psychiatry Res. 2006 Apr 30;146(3):231-42. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2006.01.004. Epub 2006 Mar 20.


Recent functional neuroimaging work has suggested that interregional functional connectivity between the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), other limbic, and prefrontal regions may be involved in the pathophysiology of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, less attention has been paid to the white matter network. Voxel-based analysis enables an exploration of morphological or functional changes throughout the entire brain. Here we undertook the first application of this technology to diffusion tensor data in patients with PTSD. Participants were 9 victims of the Tokyo subway sarin attack with PTSD and 16 matched victims of the same traumatic event without PTSD. The voxel-based analysis showed a significant fractional anisotropy increase in the left anterior cingulum, subjacent to the left ACC gray matter where we previously found a volume decrement, in PTSD subjects. Moreover, the severity was positively, but not significantly associated with the fractional anisotropy of the left anterior cingulum in the victims with PTSD, using the region of interest defined in the native space with the inverse normalization technique. The present study demonstrated further evidence of abnormalities of both the ACC, a structure that is pivotally involved in attention, emotional regulation, and fear conditioning, and of subjacent white matter in the pathology of PTSD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Gyrus Cinguli / anatomy & histology*
  • Gyrus Cinguli / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / etiology*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / physiopathology*
  • Terrorism / psychology*