Amygdala, medial prefrontal cortex, and hippocampal function in PTSD

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2006 Jul;1071:67-79. doi: 10.1196/annals.1364.007.

Abstract

The last decade of neuroimaging research has yielded important information concerning the structure, neurochemistry, and function of the amygdala, medial prefrontal cortex, and hippocampus in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Neuroimaging research reviewed in this article reveals heightened amygdala responsivity in PTSD during symptomatic states and during the processing of trauma-unrelated affective information. Importantly, amygdala responsivity is positively associated with symptom severity in PTSD. In contrast, medial prefrontal cortex appears to be volumetrically smaller and is hyporesponsive during symptomatic states and the performance of emotional cognitive tasks in PTSD. Medial prefrontal cortex responsivity is inversely associated with PTSD symptom severity. Lastly, the reviewed research suggests diminished volumes, neuronal integrity, and functional integrity of the hippocampus in PTSD. Remaining research questions and related future directions are presented.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / pathology
  • Amygdala / physiopathology*
  • Hippocampus / pathology
  • Hippocampus / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Prefrontal Cortex / pathology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiopathology*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / pathology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / physiopathology*