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Current Psychiatry Reports

, 19:81 | Cite as

A Network-Based Neurobiological Model of PTSD: Evidence From Structural and Functional Neuroimaging Studies

  • Teddy J. Akiki
  • Christopher L. Averill
  • Chadi G. AbdallahEmail author
Disaster Psychiatry: Trauma, PTSD, and Related Disorders (MJ Friedman, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Disaster Psychiatry: Trauma, PTSD, and Related Disorders

Abstract

Purpose of Review

Although a fine-grained understanding of the neurobiology of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is yet to be elucidated, the last two decades have seen a rapid growth in the study of PTSD using neuroimaging techniques. The current review summarizes important findings from functional and structural neuroimaging studies of PTSD, by primarily focusing on their relevance towards an emerging network-based neurobiological model of the disorder.

Recent Findings

PTSD may be characterized by a weakly connected and hypoactive default mode network (DMN) and central executive network (CEN) that are putatively destabilized by an overactive and hyperconnected salience network (SN), which appears to have a low threshold for perceived saliency, and inefficient DMN-CEN modulation.

Summary

There is considerable evidence for large-scale functional and structural network dysfunction in PTSD. Nevertheless, several limitations and gaps in the literature need to be addressed in future research.

Keywords

Posttraumatic stress disorder Default mode network Central executive network Salience network Functional magnetic resonance imaging Structural MRI 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank the US Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD, the NIMH, and the Brain and Behavior Foundation for their support. We would also like to thank our colleagues for their thoughtful conversation while preparing this manuscript.

Funding

This work was supported by the US Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) National Center for PTSD, NIH [MH-101498]; Brain and Behavior Foundation Young Investigator Award [NARSAD]. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the sponsors. The sponsors had no role in the preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Teddy J. Akiki and Christopher L. Averill declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Chadi G. Abdallah has received grants from the NIH [MH-101498], the Brain and Behavior Foundation Young Investigator Award [NARSAD], and the US Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) National Center for PTSD. Dr. Abdallah has served as a consultant or on advisory boards for Genentech and Janssen. He also serves as editor for the journal Chronic Stress published by SAGE Publications, Inc.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

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Copyright information

© US Government (outside the USA) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Teddy J. Akiki
    • 1
    • 2
  • Christopher L. Averill
    • 1
    • 2
  • Chadi G. Abdallah
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Clinical Neuroscience Division—National Center for PTSD, VA Connecticut Healthcare SystemWest HavenUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryYale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA

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