Whole-brain morphometry in Canadian soldiers with posttraumatic stress disorder.

TitleWhole-brain morphometry in Canadian soldiers with posttraumatic stress disorder.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsRoy, O, Levasseur-Moreau, J, Renauld, E, H├ębert, LJ, Leblond, J, Bilodeau, M, Fecteau, S
JournalAnn N Y Acad Sci
Date Published2022 Mar

Patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) display several structural brain differences when compared with healthy individuals. However, findings are particularly inconsistent for soldiers with PTSD. Here, we characterized the brain morphometry of 37 soldiers from the Canadian Armed Forces with adulthood war-related PTSD using structural magnetic resonance imaging. We assessed time since trauma, as well as PTSD, depressive, and anxiety symptoms with the Modified PTSD Symptoms Scale, Beck Depression Inventory, and Beck Anxiety Inventory, respectively. Whole-brain morphometry was extracted with FreeSurfer and compared with a validated normative database of more than 2700 healthy individuals. Volume and thickness from several regions differed from the norms. Frontal regions were smaller and thinner, particularly the superior and rostral middle frontal gyri. Furthermore, smaller left rostral middle frontal gyrus, left pericalcarine cortex, and right fusiform gyrus were associated with more recent trauma. All subcortical structures were bigger, except the hippocampus. These findings suggest a particular brain morphometric signature of PTSD in soldiers. Smaller and thinner frontal and larger subcortical regions support impaired top-down and/or downregulation of emotional response in PTSD. Finally, the correlation of smaller frontal, temporal, and occipital regions with more recent trauma might inform future therapeutic approaches.

Alternate JournalAnn N Y Acad Sci
PubMed ID34791677