Posttraumatic stress (PTSD) and alcohol use (AUD) disorders are associated with abnormal anterior cingulate cortex/ventromedial prefrontal cortex, thalamus. and amygdala function, yet microstructural white matter (WM) differences in executive-limbic tracts are likely also involved. Investigating WM in limbic-thalamo-cortical tracts, this study hypothesized (1) fractional anisotropy (FA) in dorsal cingulum, parahippocampal cingulum, and anterior corona radiata (ACR) would be lower in individuals with comorbid PTSD/AUD compared to in individuals with AUD-only and (2) that FA would be related to both AUD and PTSD severity. 22 combat veterans with comorbid PTSD/AUD or AUD-only completed DTI scans. ANCOVAs indicated lower FA in right (F(df=1,19)=9.091, P=0.0071) and left (F(df=1,19)=10.375, P=0.0045) dorsal cingulum and right ACR (F(df=1,19)=18.914, P=0.0003) for individuals with comorbid PTSD/AUD vs. individuals with AUD-only, even controlling for alcohol use. Multiple linear regressions revealed that FA in the right ACR was inversely related to PTSD severity (r=-0.683, P=0.004). FA was not significantly related to alcohol severity. Reduced WM integrity in limbic-thalamo-cortical tracts is implicated in PTSD, even in the presence of comorbid AUD. These findings suggest that diminished WM integrity in tracts important for top-down control may be an important anomaly in PTSD and/or comorbid PTSD/AUD.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Psychiatry and Mental health