Dysconnectivity of the amygdala and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex in drug-naive post-traumatic stress disorder

Lei Li, Zhan Xu, Lizhou Chen, Xueling Suo, Shiqin Fu, Song Wang, Su Lui, Xiaoqi Huang, Lingjiang Li, Shi Jiang Li, Bharat B. Biswal, Qiyong Gong

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Convergent studies have highlighted the amygdala-based and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC)-based circuit or network dysfunction in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, previous studies are often complicated by various traumatic types, psychiatric comorbidities, chronic illness duration, and medication effect on brain function. Besides, little is known whether the functional integration with amygdala–dACC interaction disrupted or not in PTSD. Here, we investigated effective connectivity (EC) between the amygdala-dACC and rest of the cortex by applying psycho-physiological interaction (PPI) approach to resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging data of 63 drug-naive PTSD patients and 74 matched trauma-exposed non-PTSD controls. Pearson correlation analysis was performed between EC values extracted from regions with between-group difference and clinical profiles in PTSD patients. We observed distinct amygdala-dACC interaction pattern between PTSD group and the control group, which is composed primarily by positive EC in the former and negative in the latter. In addition, compared with non-PTSD controls, PTSD patients showed increased EC between amygdala-dACC and the prefrontal cortex, left inferior parietal lobule, and bilateral ventral occipital cortex, and decreased EC between amygdala-dACC and the left fusiform gyrus. The EC increase between amygdala-dACC and the right middle frontal gyrus was negatively correlated with the clinician-administered PTSD scale scores in PTSD patients. Aberrent communication between amgydala-dACC and brain regions involved in central executive network and visual systems might be associated with the pathophysiology of PTSD. Further, these findings suggested that dysconnectivity of the amygdala and dACC could be adapted as a relatively early course diagnostic biomarker of PTSD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)84-93
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Neuropsychopharmacology
StatePublished - Nov 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Pharmacology (medical)


  • Amygdala
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Psycho-physiological interaction (PPI)
  • Psychoradiology
  • Resting-state functional magnetic resonance image (rs-fMRI)


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