A variety of structural abnormalities have been described in post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but only a few studies have focused on cortical thickness alterations in recent onset PTSD. In this study, we adopted surface-based morphometry (SBM), which enables an exploration of global structural changes throughout the brain, in order to compare cortical thickness alterations in recent onset PTSD patients, trauma-exposed subjects but without PTSD, and normal controls. Moreover, we used region of interest (ROI) partial correlation analysis to evaluate the correlation among PTSD symptom severity and significant changes of cortical thickness. The widespread cortical thickness reduction relative to the normal controls were found in bilateral inferior and superior parietal lobes, frontal lobes, hippocampus, cingulate cortex, and right lateral occipital lobes in trauma survivors, whereas cortical thickness was only increased in left calcarine cortex in PTSD group. The average cortical thickness of hippocampus and cingulate cortex decreased by 10.75% and 9.09% in PTSD, 3.48% and 2.86% in non PTSD. We further demonstrated that the cortical thicknesses of bilateral ACC and PCC, superior frontal lobes, and hippocampus are negatively correlated with CAPS scores in all trauma survivors. Our study results suggest that stress widens cortical thinning regions and causes more serious effect in recent onset PTSD than non PTSD. It also shows that the cortical thinning in recent onset PTSD predicts the symptom severity.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Clinical Neurology
- Cognitive Neuroscience