Brain Imaging and Behavior

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 226–237 | Cite as

Different neural modifications underpin PTSD after different traumatic events: an fMRI meta-analytic study

  • Maddalena Boccia
  • Simonetta D’Amico
  • Filippo Bianchini
  • Assunta Marano
  • Anna Maria Giannini
  • Laura Piccardi
Review Article


Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety condition that can develop after exposure to trauma such as physical or sexual assault, injury, combat-related trauma, natural disaster or death. Although an increasing number of neurobiological studies carried out over the past 20 years have allowed clarifying the neural substrate of PTSD, the neural modifications underpinning PTSD are still unclear. Here we used activation likelihood estimation meta-analysis (ALE) to determine whether PTSD has a consistent neural substrate. We also explored the possibility that different traumatic events produce different alterations in the PTSD neural network. In neuroimaging studies of PTSD, we found evidence of a consistent neural network including the bilateral insula and cingulate cortex as well as the parietal, frontal and limbic areas. We also found that specific networks of brain areas underpin PTSD after different traumatic events and that these networks may be related to specific aspects of the traumatic events. We discuss our results in light of the functional segregation of the brain areas involved in PTSD.


PTSD fMRI ALE meta-analysis 



This research was supported by a grant from the Italian Association of Psychology (AIP) to the Faculty of Psychology, University of L’Aquila, after the earthquake of April 6, 2009 and ANIA Foundation.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

No animal or human studies were carried out by the authors for this article and data from previous studies were collected using Brainmap database.

Conflict of interest

Maddalena Boccia, Simonetta D’Amico, Filippo Bianchini, Assunta Marano, Anna Maria Giannini and Laura Piccardi declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maddalena Boccia
    • 1
    • 2
  • Simonetta D’Amico
    • 3
  • Filippo Bianchini
    • 1
    • 2
  • Assunta Marano
    • 3
  • Anna Maria Giannini
    • 2
  • Laura Piccardi
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Neuropsychology UnitIRCCS Fondazione Santa Lucia of RomeRomeItaly
  2. 2.Department of Psychology“Sapienza” University of RomeRomeItaly
  3. 3.Department of Life, Health and Environmental SciencesL’Aquila UniversityL’AquilaItaly

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