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Neuropsychopharmacology. 2015 Sep;40(10):2317-26. doi: 10.1038/npp.2015.79. Epub 2015 Mar 19.

The Dissociative Subtype of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Unique Resting-State Functional Connectivity of Basolateral and Centromedial Amygdala Complexes.

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Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada.
Lawson Health Research Institute, London, Ontario, Canada.
Lawson Health Research Institute, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada.
Department of Diagnostic Imaging, St Joseph's Health Care London, Departments of Medical Imaging, Medical Biophysics and Psychiatry, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada.
Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry, Neuroscience Program, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada.
McMaster University, St Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton, Homewood Research Institute, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.


Previous studies point towards differential connectivity patterns among basolateral (BLA) and centromedial (CMA) amygdala regions in patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as compared with controls. Here we describe the first study to compare directly connectivity patterns of the BLA and CMA complexes between PTSD patients with and without the dissociative subtype (PTSD+DS and PTSD-DS, respectively). Amygdala connectivity to regulatory prefrontal regions and parietal regions involved in consciousness and proprioception were expected to differ between these two groups based on differential limbic regulation and behavioral symptoms. PTSD patients (n=49) with (n=13) and without (n=36) the dissociative subtype and age-matched healthy controls (n=40) underwent resting-state fMRI. Bilateral BLA and CMA connectivity patterns were compared using a seed-based approach via SPM Anatomy Toolbox. Among patients with PTSD, the PTSD+DS group exhibited greater amygdala functional connectivity to prefrontal regions involved in emotion regulation (bilateral BLA and left CMA to the middle frontal gyrus and bilateral CMA to the medial frontal gyrus) as compared with the PTSD-DS group. In addition, the PTSD+DS group showed greater amygdala connectivity to regions involved in consciousness, awareness, and proprioception-implicated in depersonalization and derealization (left BLA to superior parietal lobe and cerebellar culmen; left CMA to dorsal posterior cingulate and precuneus). Differences in amygdala complex connectivity to specific brain regions parallel the unique symptom profiles of the PTSD subgroups and point towards unique biological markers of the dissociative subtype of PTSD.

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