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Neuroimaging Correlates of Resilience to Traumatic Events-A Comprehensive Review


Bolsinger, Julia; Seifritz, Erich; Kleim, Birgit; Manoliu, Andrei (2018). Neuroimaging Correlates of Resilience to Traumatic Events-A Comprehensive Review. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 9:693.

Abstract

Improved understanding of the neurobiological correlates of resilience would be an important step toward recognizing individuals at risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other trauma-related diseases, enabling both preventative measures and individually tailored therapeutic approaches. Studies on vulnerability factors allow drawing conclusions on resilience. Structural changes of cortical and subcortical structures, as well as alterations in functional connectivity and functional activity, have been demonstrated to occur in individuals with PTSD symptoms. Relevant areas of interest are hippocampus, amygdala, insula, anterior cingulate cortex, and prefrontal cortex, as well as related brain networks, such as the default-mode, salience, and central executive network. This review summarizes the existing literature and integrates findings from cross-sectional study designs with two-group designs (trauma exposed individuals with and without PTSD), three-group designs (with an additional group of unexposed, healthy controls), twin-studies and longitudinal studies. In terms of structural findings, decreased hippocampal volume in PTSD individuals might be either a vulnerability factor or a result of trauma exposure, or both. Reduced anterior cingulate cortex and prefrontal cortex volumes seem to be predisposing factors for increased vulnerability. Regarding functional connectivity, increased amygdala connectivity has been demonstrated selectively in PTSD individuals, as well as increased default-mode-network and salience network connectivity. In terms of functional activity, increased amygdala and anterior cingulate cortex activities, and decreased prefrontal cortex activity as a response to external stimuli have been associated with higher vulnerability. Increased prefrontal cortex activity seemed to be a protective factor. Selecting adequate study designs, optimizing the diagnostic criteria, as well as differentiating between types of trauma and accounting for other factors, such as gender-specific differences, would be well-served in future research. Conclusions on potential preventative measures, as well as clinical applications, can be drawn from the present literature, but more studies are needed.

Abstract

Improved understanding of the neurobiological correlates of resilience would be an important step toward recognizing individuals at risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other trauma-related diseases, enabling both preventative measures and individually tailored therapeutic approaches. Studies on vulnerability factors allow drawing conclusions on resilience. Structural changes of cortical and subcortical structures, as well as alterations in functional connectivity and functional activity, have been demonstrated to occur in individuals with PTSD symptoms. Relevant areas of interest are hippocampus, amygdala, insula, anterior cingulate cortex, and prefrontal cortex, as well as related brain networks, such as the default-mode, salience, and central executive network. This review summarizes the existing literature and integrates findings from cross-sectional study designs with two-group designs (trauma exposed individuals with and without PTSD), three-group designs (with an additional group of unexposed, healthy controls), twin-studies and longitudinal studies. In terms of structural findings, decreased hippocampal volume in PTSD individuals might be either a vulnerability factor or a result of trauma exposure, or both. Reduced anterior cingulate cortex and prefrontal cortex volumes seem to be predisposing factors for increased vulnerability. Regarding functional connectivity, increased amygdala connectivity has been demonstrated selectively in PTSD individuals, as well as increased default-mode-network and salience network connectivity. In terms of functional activity, increased amygdala and anterior cingulate cortex activities, and decreased prefrontal cortex activity as a response to external stimuli have been associated with higher vulnerability. Increased prefrontal cortex activity seemed to be a protective factor. Selecting adequate study designs, optimizing the diagnostic criteria, as well as differentiating between types of trauma and accounting for other factors, such as gender-specific differences, would be well-served in future research. Conclusions on potential preventative measures, as well as clinical applications, can be drawn from the present literature, but more studies are needed.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Date:2018
Deposited On:20 Feb 2019 14:12
Last Modified:25 Sep 2019 00:28
Publisher:Frontiers Research Foundation
ISSN:1664-0640
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00693
PubMed ID:30631288
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID10001C_169827
  • : Project TitleOptimising outcomes in psychotherapy for anxiety disorders (OPTIMAX)

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