Inhibitory dysfunction is closely associated to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The present study investigated the neurophysiological evidence for and the brain regions related to inhibitory dysfunction in PTSD. Fifty patients with PTSD and 63 healthy controls (HCs) participated in a Go/Nogo task combined with electroencephalographic recordings. The N2–P3 complexes of event-related potentials (ERPs) elicited during the Nogo condition were compared between groups. Participants underwent structural magnetic resonance imaging to examine cortical volumes and completed questionnaires. Correlations between altered ERPs and cortical volumes of regions of interest as well as psychological symptoms were analysed. Nogo-N2 latencies at five electrode sites (Fz, FCz, Cz, CPz, and Pz) were significantly delayed in patients with PTSD compared to HCs. Nogo-N2 latency had a significant negative correlation with the volume of gyrus in the inferior frontal cortex, orbitofrontal cortex, amygdala, and medial prefrontal cortex. Nogo-N2 latency was significantly and positively correlated with catastrophizing, anxiety, and perceived threat. These findings show inhibitory dysfunction in patients with PTSD, reflected by the delay in Nogo-N2 latencies. They also indicate that Nogo-N2 latencies are associated with smaller cortical volumes responsible for inhibition as well as with major symptoms of PTSD.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
American Psychiatric Association (2013) Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, 5th edn. American Psychiatric Press, Washington, DC
Aron AR, Robbins TW, Poldrack RA (2014) Inhibition and the right inferior frontal cortex: one decade on. Trends Cogn Sci 18:177–185. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2013.12.003
Ashburner J (2007) A fast diffeomorphic image registration algorithm. Neuroimage 38:95–113. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2007.07.007
Ashburner J (2009) Computational anatomy with the SPM software. Magn Reson Imaging 27:1163–1174. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mri.2009.01.006
Ashburner J, Friston KJ (2000) Voxel-based morphometry: the methods. Neuroimage 11:805–821. https://doi.org/10.1006/nimg.2000.0582
Ashburner J, Friston KJ (2005) Unified segmentation. Neuroimage 26:839–851. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2005.02.018
Aupperle RL, Melrose AJ, Stein MB, Paulus MP (2012) Executive function and PTSD: disengaging from trauma. Neuropharmacology 62:686–694. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropharm.2011.02.008
Bjelland I, Dahl AA, Haug TT, Neckelmann D (2002) The validity of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale: an updated literature review. J Psychosom Res 52:69–77
Blanchard EB, Hickling EJ, Mitnick N, Taylor AE, Loos WR, Buckley TC (1995) The impact of severity of physical injury and perception of life threat in the development of post-traumatic stress disorder in motor vehicle accident victims. Behav Res Ther 33:529–534. https://doi.org/10.1016/0005-7967(94)00079-y
Bokura H, Yamaguchi S, Kobayashi S (2001) Electrophysiological correlates for response inhibition in a Go/NoGo task. Clin Neurophysiol 112:2224–2232. https://doi.org/10.1016/s1388-2457(01)00691-5
Bremner JD (2006) Traumatic stress: effects on the brain. Dialogues Clin Neurosci 8:445–461
Bruin K, Wijers A (2002) Inhibition, response mode, and stimulus probability: a comparative event-related potential study. Clin Neurophysiol 113:1172–1182
Casada JH, Roache JD (2005) Behavioral inhibition and activation in posttraumatic stress disorder. J Nerv Ment Dis 193:102–109
Catarino A, Küpper CS, Werner-Seidler A, Dalgleish T, Anderson MC (2015) Failing to forget: inhibitory-control deficits compromise memory suppression in posttraumatic stress disorder. Psychol Sci 26:604–616. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797615569889
Cools R, Clark L, Owen AM, Robbins TW (2002) Defining the neural mechanisms of probabilistic reversal learning using event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging. J Neurosci 22:4563–4567. https://doi.org/10.1523/jneurosci.22-11-04563.2002
Depue B, Olson-Madden J, Smolker H, Rajamani M, Brenner L, Banich M (2014) Reduced amygdala volume is associated with deficits in inhibitory control: a voxel-and surface-based morphometric analysis of comorbid PTSD/mild TBI. BioMed Res Int.https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/691505
Donchin E, Coles MG (1988) Is the P300 component a manifestation of context updating? Behav Brain Sci 11:357–374. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0140525x00058027
Dong G, Lu Q, Zhou H, Zhao X (2010) Impulse inhibition in people with Internet addiction disorder: electrophysiological evidence from a Go/NoGo study. Neurosci Lett 485:138–142. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neulet.2010.09.002
Donkers FC, Van Boxtel GJ (2004) The N2 in go/no-go tasks reflects conflict monitoring not response inhibition. Brain Cognit 56:165–176. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bandc.2004.04.005
Eimer M (1993) Effects of attention and stimulus probability on ERPs in a Go/Nogo task. Biol Psychol 35:123–138
Falconer E et al (2008) The neural networks of inhibitory control in posttraumatic stress disorder. J Psychiatry Neurosci 33:413
Gajewski PD, Falkenstein M (2013) Effects of task complexity on ERP components in Go/Nogo tasks. Int J Psychophysiol 87:273–278. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2012.08.007
Garnefski N, Kraaij V (2006) Cognitive emotion regulation questionnaire–development of a short 18-item version (CERQ-short). Pers Indiv Differ 41:1045–1053. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2006.04.010
Garnefski N, Kraaij V, Spinhoven P (2001) Negative life events, cognitive emotion regulation and emotional problems. Pers Individ Differ 30:1311–1327. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0191-8869(00)00113-6
Haukoos JS, Lewis RJ (2005) Advanced statistics: bootstrapping confidence intervals for statistics with “difficult” distributions. Acad Emerg Med 12:360–365. https://doi.org/10.1197/j.aem.2004.11.018
Holbrook TL, Hoyt DB, Stein MB, Sieber WJ (2001) Perceived threat to life predicts posttraumatic stress disorder after major trauma: risk factors and functional outcome. J Trauma 51:287–292. https://doi.org/10.1097/00005373-200108000-00010 discussion 292 – 283.
Horn N, Dolan M, Elliott R, Deakin J, Woodruff P (2003) Response inhibition and impulsivity: an fMRI study. Neuropsychologia 41:1959–1966. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0028-3932(03)00077-0
Huster RJ, Enriquez-Geppert S, Lavallee CF, Falkenstein M, Herrmann CS (2013) Electroencephalography of response inhibition tasks: functional networks and cognitive contributions. Int J Psychophysiol 87:217–233
Jodo E, Kayama Y (1992) Relation of a negative ERP component to response inhibition in a Go/No-go task. Clin Neurophysiol 82:477–482. https://doi.org/10.1016/0013-4694(92)90122-x
Jovanovic T, Norrholm SD, Blanding NQ, Davis M, Duncan E, Bradley B, Ressler KJ (2010) Impaired fear inhibition is a biomarker of PTSD but not depression. Depress Anxiety 27:244–251
Jovanovic T et al (2009) Posttraumatic stress disorder may be associated with impaired fear inhibition: relation to symptom severity. Psychiatry Res 167:151–160. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2007.12.014
Kaiser S, Weiss O, Hill H, Markela-Lerenc J, Kiefer M, Weisbrod M (2006) N2 event-related potential correlates of response inhibition in an auditory Go/Nogo task. Int J Psychophysiol 61:279–282. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2005.09.006
Kamarajan C et al (2005) Alcoholism is a disinhibitory disorder: neurophysiological evidence from a Go/No-Go task. Biol Psychol 69:353–373. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2004.08.004
Karl A, Schaefer M, Malta LS, Dörfel D, Rohleder N, Werner A (2006) A meta-analysis of structural brain abnormalities in PTSD. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 30:1004–1031. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2006.03.004
Kim M et al (2017) Neurophysiological correlates of altered response inhibition in internet gaming disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder: perspectives from impulsivity and compulsivity. Sci Rep 7:41742. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep41742
Kopp B, Mattler U, Goertz R, Rist F (1996) N2, P3 and the lateralized readiness potential in a nogo task involving selective response priming. Electroencephalogr Clinl Neurophysiol 99:19–27. https://doi.org/10.1016/0921-884x(96)95617-9
Liberzon I, Sripada CS (2007) The functional neuroanatomy of PTSD: a critical review. Prog Brain Res 167:151–169. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0079-6123(07)67011-3
Liotti M, Woldorff MG, Perez R III, Mayberg HS (2000) An ERP study of the temporal course of the Stroop color-word interference effect. Neuropsychologia 38:701–711. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0028-3932(99)00106-2
Luck SJ (2014) An introduction to the event-related potential technique. MIT Press, Cambridge
Oh SM, Min KJ, Park DB (1999) A study on the standardization of the hospital anxiety and depression scale for Koreans: a comparison of normal, depressed and anxious groups. J Korean Neuropsych Asso 38:289–296
Polich J, Criado JR (2006) Neuropsychology and neuropharmacology of P3a and P3b. Int J Psychophysiol 60:172–185. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2005.12.012
Polich J, Ladish C, Burns T (1990) Normal variation of P300 in children: age, memory span, and head size. Int J Psychophysiol 9:237–248. https://doi.org/10.1016/0167-8760(90)90056-j
Roberts A, Wallis J (2000) Inhibitory control and affective processing in the prefrontal cortex: neuropsychological studies in the common marmoset. Cereb Cortex 10:252–262. https://doi.org/10.1093/cercor/10.3.252
Rudebeck PH, Saunders RC, Prescott AT, Chau LS, Murray EA (2013) Prefrontal mechanisms of behavioral flexibility, emotion regulation and value updating. Nat Neurosci 16:1140. https://doi.org/10.1038/nn.3440
Sehlmeyer C, Konrad C, Zwitserlood P, Arolt V, Falkenstein M, Beste C (2010) ERP indices for response inhibition are related to anxiety-related personality traits. Neuropsychologia 48:2488–2495. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2010.04.022
Semlitsch HV, Anderer P, Schuster P, Presslich O (1986) A solution for reliable and valid reduction of ocular artifacts, applied to the P300 ERP. Psychophysiology 23:695–703. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-8986.1986.tb00696.x
Sharot T, Kanai R, Marston D, Korn CW, Rees G, Dolan RJ (2012) Selectively altering belief formation in the human brain. Proc Natl Acad Sci 109:17058–17062. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1205828109
Shin LM, Rauch SL, Pitman RK (2006) Amygdala, medial prefrontal cortex, and hippocampal function in PTSD. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1071:67–79. https://doi.org/10.1196/annals.1364.007
Shucard JL, McCabe DC, Szymanski H (2008) An event-related potential study of attention deficits in posttraumatic stress disorder during auditory and visual Go/NoGo continuous performance tasks. Biol Psychol 79:223–233. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2008.05.005
Smith JL, Johnstone SJ, Barry RJ (2008) Movement-related potentials in the Go/NoGo task: the P3 reflects both cognitive and motor inhibition. Clin Neurophysiol 119:704–714. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clinph.2007.11.042
Swick D, Ashley V, Turken U (2008) Left inferior frontal gyrus is critical for response inhibition. BMC Neurosci 9:102. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2202-9-102
Swick D, Honzel N, Larsen J, Ashley V, Justus T (2012) Impaired response inhibition in veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and mild traumatic brain injury. J Int Neuropsychol Soc 18:917–926
Vasterling JJ, Brailey K, Constans JI, Sutker PB (1998) Attention and memory dysfunction in posttraumatic stress disorder. Neuropsychology 12:125
Weathers FW, Litz BT, Keane TM, Palmieri PA, Marx BP, Schnurr PP (2013) The ptsd checklist for dsm-5 (pcl-5). National Center for PTSD, Boston
Westfall PH (2011) On using the bootstrap for multiple comparisons. J Biopharm Stat 21:1187–1205
Wu J, Ge Y, Shi Z, Duan X, Wang L, Sun X, Zhang K (2010) Response inhibition in adolescent earthquake survivors with and without posttraumatic stress disorder: a combined behavioral and ERP study. Neurosci Lett 486:117–121. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neulet.2010.07.040
We wish to acknowledge Hyun Seo Lee for language editing of the manuscript. The present study was supported by a grant from the Brain Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future Planning (NRF-2015M3C7A1028252), and by a grant from the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation (KOSEF), funded by the Korean government (NRF-2018R1A2A2A05018505).
Conflicts of interests
The authors declare no conflicts of interests.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
Handling Editor: Micah M. Murray.
Electronic supplementary material
Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.
About this article
Cite this article
Min, D., Kwon, A., Kim, Y. et al. Clinical Implication of Altered Inhibitory Response in Patients with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: Electrophysiological Evidence from a Go/Nogo Task. Brain Topogr (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10548-020-00754-9
- N2 latency
- Cortical volume