Anomalous gray matter structural networks in recent onset post-traumatic stress disorder

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry

Publication Date


Document Type



Mental and Social Health | Neuroscience and Neurobiology | Psychiatric and Mental Health | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology


Alterations of the topological organization of abnormal regions or network-level structural aberrations are still poorly understood for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Herein, we investigated brain structural networks in recent-onset PTSD patients, all affected by the coalmine-flood disaster. Cortical networks were studied in recent onset PTSD patients (n = 15) and matched healthy controls (n = 25). Cortical networks were constructed by thresholding correlation matrices of 150 regions and quantified using graph theoretical approaches. Contributions of high-degree nodes, and regional and global network measures, including degree and betweenness, were studied. Compared with healthy controls, PTSD patients showed altered quantitative values in global network properties, characterized by shorter path length and higher clustering. Moreover, PTSD patients exhibited decreased connectivity in the right lingual gyrus, parahippocampal gyrus, left supramarginal gyrus, parahippocampal gyrus, bilateral superior and inferior frontal gyrus, superior frontal gyrus, and posterior cingulate gyrus. Nodal centrality decreased predominantly in the occipital regions (lingual gyrus) and default-mode regions, while increased correlations and centralities were observed in the medial temporal lobe and posterior cingulate cortex. PTSD-related networks exhibited a less efficient organization and regional connectivity. According to these findings, we conclude that regional connections involving fear-processing and re-experiential-processing cortex may play a role in maintaining or adapting to PTSD pathology.


Cortex thickness, Gray matter, Post-traumatic stress disorder, Small world networks, Structural networks

DOI of Published Version



Brain Imaging Behav. 2017 Mar 14. doi: 10.1007/s11682-017-9693-z. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Brain imaging and behavior

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID