Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Nat Neurosci. 2019 Mar;22(3):470-476. doi: 10.1038/s41593-018-0315-x. Epub 2019 Jan 21.

Neural computations of threat in the aftermath of combat trauma.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, USA.
2
Departments of Comparative Medicine, Neuroscience and Psychology, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA.
3
Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.
4
US Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD, Clinical Neurosciences Division, VA Connecticut Healthcare System, West Haven, CT, USA.
5
School of Psychological and Cognitive Sciences and Beijing Key Laboratory of Behavior and Mental Health, Peking University, Beijing, China.
6
Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA. ilan.harpaz-rotem@yale.edu.
7
US Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD, Clinical Neurosciences Division, VA Connecticut Healthcare System, West Haven, CT, USA. ilan.harpaz-rotem@yale.edu.
8
Department of Psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, USA. daniela.schiller@mssm.edu.
9
Department of Neuroscience and Friedman Brain Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, USA. daniela.schiller@mssm.edu.

Abstract

By combining computational, morphological, and functional analyses, this study relates latent markers of associative threat learning to overt post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in combat veterans. Using reversal learning, we found that symptomatic veterans showed greater physiological adjustment to cues that did not predict what they had expected, indicating greater sensitivity to prediction errors for negative outcomes. This exaggerated weighting of prediction errors shapes the dynamic learning rate (associability) and value of threat predictive cues. The degree to which the striatum tracked the associability partially mediated the positive correlation between prediction-error weights and PTSD symptoms, suggesting that both increased prediction-error weights and decreased striatal tracking of associability independently contribute to PTSD symptoms. Furthermore, decreased neural tracking of value in the amygdala, in addition to smaller amygdala volume, independently corresponded to higher PTSD symptom severity. These results provide evidence for distinct neurocomputational contributions to PTSD symptoms.

PMID:
30664770
DOI:
10.1038/s41593-018-0315-x
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group
Loading ...
Support Center