Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a leading cause of sustained impairment, distress, and poor quality of life in military personnel, veterans, and civilians. Indirect functional neuroimaging studies using PET or fMRI with fear-related stimuli support a PTSD neurocircuitry model that includes amygdala, hippocampus, and ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC). However, it is not clear if this model can fully account for PTSD abnormalities detected directly by electromagnetic-based source imaging techniques in resting-state. The present study examined resting-state magnetoencephalography (MEG) signals in 25 active-duty service members and veterans with PTSD and 30 healthy volunteers. In contrast to the healthy volunteers, individuals with PTSD showed: (1) hyperactivity from amygdala, hippocampus, posterolateral orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC), and insular cortex in high-frequency (i.e., beta, gamma, and high-gamma) bands; (2) hypoactivity from vmPFC, Frontal Pole (FP), and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) in high-frequency bands; (3) extensive hypoactivity from dlPFC, FP, anterior temporal lobes, precuneous cortex, and sensorimotor cortex in alpha and low-frequency bands; and (4) in individuals with PTSD, MEG activity in the left amygdala and posterolateral OFC correlated positively with PTSD symptom scores, whereas MEG activity in vmPFC and precuneous correlated negatively with symptom score. The present study showed that MEG source imaging technique revealed new abnormalities in the resting-state electromagnetic signals from the PTSD neurocircuitry. Particularly, posterolateral OFC and precuneous may play important roles in the PTSD neurocircuitry model.
Keywords: Amygdala; MEG; Orbitofrontal cortex; Post-traumatic stress disorder; Precuneous; Ventromedial prefrontal cortex.