Reduced white matter integrity in the cingulum and anterior corona radiata in posttraumatic stress disorder in male combat veterans: a diffusion tensor imaging study. Academic Article uri icon


  • 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.Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • December 2013